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"Formal history and standard biography play an important part in fostering a 
national spirit. Canada has an ample supply of such works; but the history of the 
Beginners of the Nation, the men and women who carved out homes for themselves 
in the dense forests, on the wide, lonely prairies, and in the stern mountain 
valleys their story can be gleaned only from almost inaccessible nooks * * * * 
' ' There can be no real history of this land unless full justice is done to the memory 
and service of the men and women who, while suffering unbelievable privations, 
enduring a loneliness almost too great to be borne, and with hearts aching because 
of ties broken with home and kindred, laid the foundations of the civilization 
which it is our privilege to enjoy. ' ; 





A pioneer who refused to accept as a farm, land now situated in 
the centre o Toronto, because it was too low and wet i'or agri- 
cultural purposes. (See page 274) 














' 'Every side-line in Ontario is rich in memories of the 
joys and sorrows of the pioneers. In some of them may 
be gathered stories of tragedies rivalling in interest any- 
thing told of the lands of chivalry and romance." 

J. Ross Robertson. 


Formal history and standard biography play 
an important part in fostering a national spirit. 
Canada has an ample supply of such works ; but 
the history of the Beginners of the Nation, the 
men and women who carved out homes for them- 
selves in the dense forests, on the wide, lonely 
prairies, and in the stern mountain valleys. 
Their story can be gleaned only from almost 
inaccessible nooks, where lies ' * a veritable store- 
house of information" on pioneer days. 

At a dinner given in November, 1908, to mark 
the completion of the first Series of the " Makers 
of Canada," Mr. John Lewis, the author of 
''George Brown" in the Series, said: 

"There is just one other work supplementary 
to this which I would like to see undertaken by 
Mr. Morang, or some other equally enterprising 
publisher, and that is a history of the unknown 
Makers of Canada; the tens of thousands of 
pioneers who many years ago struck out into 
the wilderness and converted that wilderness 
into the Canada which we enjoy to-day." 

Almost a decade ago we had the publication 
of such a series under consideration, but the 
World War and the consequent unsettling of 
business halted our plans. We now launch this 
volume, the first of a series that will show by 
what suffering, heroism, and dogged determin- 
ation the foundations of the Canadian provinces 

were laid. 



In the Spring of 1897 I began a series of trips 
a-wheel through rural Ontario. These trips 
were undertaken with the object of obtaining 
first-hand information, for publication in the 
columns of The W'eekly Sun regarding actual 
conditions on the farms of the province. 

While engaged in that task, and purely by ac- 
cident, I stumbled on a veritable storehouse of 
information of another kind altogether. This 
information was carried in the memories of men 
and women then still living memories that 
went back to the days of the virgin forest, of 
log cabins surrounded by blackened stumps in 
the midst of scanty clearings, of bush trails and 
corduroy roads over which settlers toiled with 
their grists to distant mills, of old-time logging 
bees, and of the circuit riders who carried the 
Gospel message to those real heroes, who at 
such infinite cost in toil and privation were 
effecting a conquest in which there was none of 
the brute triumph of the conqueror or the bit- 
terness of defeat in the conquered. 

On the memories of those met with I drew for 
the material given in a series of pioneer sketches 
which appeared from time to time in the col- 
umns of the press during the period from 1897 
to 1914. These sketches, with some further in- 



formation gathered at a later date, form the 
basis of what is contained in this volume. 

It was Gold win Smith who first suggested 
the idea of putting into permanent form the 
fragmentary accounts of pioneer life which are 
here offered. The suggestion was made shortly 
after the sketches began to appear in print. 
Partly for that reason, but still more because 
the judgments and ideals which have governed 
my more mature years are mainly the result of 
the teaching and example of Goldwin Smith, 
whose character and aspirations were expressed 
in the inspired phrase, " above all nations is 
humanity," this volume is reverently dedicated 
to his memory. 

It is not pretended that what is given even ap- 
proaches the standard of a complete history of 
the period dealt with in the life of Ontario. It 
is hoped, however, that the facts collected may 
in some measure make easier the task of one, 
with wider knowledge and greater literary 
skill, who will some day write a real history of 
the land in which we live. And there can be no 
real history of this land unless full justice is 
done to the memory and service of the men and 
women who, while suffering unbelievable priv- 
ations, enduring a loneliness almost too great to 
be borne, and with hearts aching because of ties 
broken with home and kindred, laid the founda- 
tions of the civilization which it is our privilege 

to enjoy. 

W. L. S. 


PUBLISHER 'S NOTE ........................ . ............................................................................... IX 

FOREWORD .................................................................................................................................... xi 


THE COMING OF THE PIONEERS .............................................................................. I 


OX THE SHORES OF THE BAY OF QUINTE ..................................................... 5 

FOLLOWING THE BLAZED TRAIL .............................................................................. 13 

THE LONELY GRAVE BY THE WAYSIDE ................. . ......................................... 18 

INLAND SETTLEMENTS ...................................................................................................... L'3 


GRINDING CORN IN A HOLLOW STUMP ............................................................... 29 

SUING FOR TRADE ............................................................................. . ................................... 39 

ACTIVE AT NINETY-TWO ................................... . .............................................................. 45 

PUTTING HIMSELF ON RATIONS ................................................................................. 52 

CHILDREN AND SHEEP IN THE CELLAR ............................................................ 55 

PIONEERS OF GANANOQUE AND VICINITY ......................................................... 63 


MAKING A PREMIER ................................................................................... ........................ 73 

VILLAGES THAT ARE NO MORE ............................. _ ............................................... 80 

RAFTING TIMBER ON THE ST. LAWRENCE ...................................................... 86 

A WAYSIDE INN'S FAMOUS GUESTS ....................... . .......... _ ............................. 90 

A LONG WAY TO THE MILL ............................................... . ......................................... 96 

HARDSHIPS OF THE NOTTAWASAQA PIONEERS ............................................. 99 

THE RUGBY SETTLEMENT ............................................................................................. 104 

THE EARLY DAYS OF INNISFIL ............................................... ........ 106 






































A HEAVY HANDICAP ...................................... 

EARLY TEMPERANCE WORKERS .................... - ..... 

A TEMPERANCE TOWNSHIP ............................................ 

VIRTUES AND FAILINGS ............................................. 

PIONEER CAMP MEETINGS ............................. 

EXCITING SERVICE IN A MILL ................................. 

EARLY RELIGIOUS REVIVALS ................................ 

THE CAVAN BLAZERS ......................................................... 


THE BLACK FLAG OF DEATH ......................................... 

WHEKE HEROES LIE ................................... 

INDEX ..... ................................................ 337 



















BEAM 43 

































CRADLE ... 1C _ 
































In August, 1535, Jacques Cartier sailed up the 
St. Lawrence and cast anchor at the Indian 
village of Stadacoiia. In 1608, Champlain, fol- 
lowing in the wake of Cartier, landed at Stada- 
cona with men and materials to lay the founda- 
tions of Quebec city. Around this centre grew up 
a small community, destined to spread its influ- 
ence until a prosperous colony was built up on 
the banks of the lower St. Lawrence. 

Fur-traders and adventurers penetrated far 
inland setting up trading-posts by lake and 
river. French missionaries lived and laboured 
amongst the Indians, winning converts by their 
devoted service. Explorers mapped out the 
courses of streams and noted the natural 
resources of the country. Military leaders built 
forts at strategic points. But for years, scarcely 
anyone seems to have thought seriously of mak- 
ing a living by the cultivation of the soil. 
Governor after governor complained to the 
home authorities that in contrast with the Eng- 
lish settlers in the New England colonies, who 
began at once to follow agriculture, the French 



settlers preferred to engage in the adventurous 
and more lucrative occupation of trading in furs. 

But with the passing of Canada to the English 
in 1763 and the subsequent revolt of the Amer- 
ican colonies, all this was changed. Many col- 
onists who had remained true to England had 
either been ruined during the revolt or subse- 
quently found their old surroundings uncongen- 
ial and looked to Canada as a place of escape. 
The home government promised assistance, and 
thousands responded to the invitation to settle 
in Canada. 

In the matter of location, the new-comers 
seem to have been allowed a wide range of 
choice. Lands, in what are now designated the 
Maritime Provinces, Quebec, and Ontario, were 
offered for settlement. Coming from New York 
and other agricultural states, many of the im- 
migrants chose Ontario, settling for the most 
part within easy distance of the Great Lakes 

With their coming, the pioneer period of agri- 
culture in Ontario may be said to have begun. 
Nearly all of those who came at first were of 
humble origin, of honest purpose, and almost 
destitute of means. For two or three years, 
owing to crop failures and lack of equipment, 
they received some aid from the Government. 
A considerable proportion of these first settlers 
were Loyalists, and mingling with them were 
discharged soldiers, many of them Hessians, 
who took up land in preference to returning 
to Europe. 

In addition to the Loyalists and subsequent 
American immigrants there were thousands who 


came direct from the Old World to settle in 
Canada. Those of American origin arrived 
mainly between 1780 and 1812, while the 
principal movement from overseas commenced 
a few years later. The first-comers from what 
is now the United States followed three main 
routes, one along the line of the St. Lawrence 
from Lower Canada, another from Oswego in 
New York State to Kingston and the Bay of 
Quinte, and still another by way of the Niagara 
frontier. Those arriving at Niagara divided in- 
to three sections on reaching the border. One 
section moved westward to lay the foundations 
of Haldimand and Waterloo counties ; the second, 
passing around the head of Lake Ontario, settled 
in Markham, Scarboro, and adjoining townships; 
while the third followed the shores of the lake 
farther eastward for some fifty miles to a point 
where they almost joined with those coming 
up the St. Lawrence. 

The later, and greater wave of pioneer im- 
migration, originating from beyond the Atlan- 
tic, on- arriving in Canada followed a route in- 
land lying along the St. Lawrence and the Ot- 
tawa rivers by way of Bytown, as Ottawa was 
then called. From there the immigrants spread 
all over Eastern Ontario. 

It is with these strangers in a new land, com- 
ing from widely separated sources, that we are 
concerned in these pages. Let us hear their 
story as they or their immediate descendants 
told it a quarter of a century ago. 


It was no mere accident that the first place 
chosen for settlement is what is now Ontario, 
was the country in the vicinity of Kingston. 
Over a hundred years before, in 1673, Fron- 
tenac, the most illustrious of the governors 
of New France, visited the spot in state, and 
established a fort on the site of Kingston. But 
no attempt at settlement was made. The fort 
was intended merely as a link in the great fur- 
trading enterprise and as a barrier against the 
incursion of the Jroquois, the uncompromising 
enemies of the French. 

A short time before Colonel Bradstreet cap- 
tured Fort Frontenac in 1758, one Michael Grass 
had been a prisoner in the fort, After his 
release he returned to the colony of New York 
and settled on a farm about thirty miles from 
New York City. When the Revolution was in 
full swing, Grass was offered a commission in 
the Revolutionary army, but he was a staunch 
upholder of British authority and rejected the 
offer. As a result of his action his life was in 
danger and he sought shelter in New York City. 
Sir Guy Carleton (afterwards Lord Dorchester) 
was in command of the British forces. When in 
1783 the Revolutionists emerged successful from 
the struggle, there was wholesale confiscation of 



Loyalist property and it was necessary to find 
homes on British territory for many of those 
who had remained faithful to the Crown. 
Carleton viewed with favour the Great Lakes 
regions as a place for settlement, and knowing 
that Michael Grass was familiar with the coun- 
try about old Fort Frontenac, consulted with 
him regarding the character of the climate and 
soil. Grass gave a favourable report, and Carle- 
ton decided to send a considerable body of 
Loyalists to the region lying at the eastern end 
of Lake Ontario. Grass was given a captain's 
commission and placed in charge of a large party 
that sailed from New York for the St. Lawrence 
in seven ships escorted by a man-of-war. The 
voyage was a tedious and dangerous one, and 
the emigrants did not reach Sorel, at the mouth 
of the Richelieu, until it was too late in the year 
to proceed westward. 

Here they spent the winter; but their story is 
best told in the language of men who came into 
contact with their descendants, and who had 
access to their records. 

In the first week of August, 1899, I sat chat- 
ting with T. W. Casey, a faithful custodian of 
early records in Lennox county; Rev. R. S. 
Forneri, one of those instrumental in the erec- 
tion of memorials to the creators of first things 
in Ontario; and Parker Allen, a grandson of 
one of the first settlers in Adolphustown, and 
at the time one of the two survivors of Sir John 
A. Macdonald's first schoolmates. The hot rays 
of the afternoon sun were beating down upon the 
fields of yellow grain, before us glistened the 
rippling waters of the Bay of Quinte, while 


beyond them rose the bush-studded shores of 
Prince Edward. Behind the trees under which 
we were seated stood a commodious farm home 
with extensive outbuildings, while across the 
road the eye fell upon the beautiful farmstead 
of the nearest neighbour. Everything breathed 
of prosperity and comfort. 

"One can scarcely believe," said Mr. Casey, 
"that a century ago the land for miles in all di- 
rections from where we now sit was nothing but 
unbroken bush. Yet it is little more than a cen- 
tury since the forest in this neighbourhood was 
first attacked by the axe of the pioneer. The 
earliest settlers along the front of Frontenac 
and Lennox came from New York State, leaving 
there in the fall of 1783. The British Govern- 
ment furnished vessels to carry them to Sorel, 
on the Richelieu, where the winter of 1783 was 
spent. There they made their first acquaintance 
with the discomforts of a new country. Their 
winter habitations were huts of log cut from the 
surrounding forest. As the long winter months 
dragged on the men busied themselves in felling 
trees from which to construct boats to take them 
further inland. With the coming of spring, an 
advance party journeyed westward in these 
rude craft, and reached Little Cataraqui Creek, 
three miles west of Fort Frontenac, in June. 

"Surveyor-General Holland had sent Deputy 
Surveyor Collins with the settlers, and under 
his direction townships were laid out. This was 
no easy task, and it was not completed until 
late in the summer. The advance guard then 
returned to Sorel, where another trying winter 
was spent. In the spring of 1785, the whole 


party moved forward and were soon carving out 
homes for themselves in the wilderness. 

"Cut off from civilization by the rapids of 
the St. Lawrence they were very much isolated. 
Nor was their condition improved by their ar- 
rival in the middle of summer, too late to sow 
grain for that year or to make clearances for 
sowing fall wheat. Without money, for the 
Government refused to issue specie, without 
crops, and away from sources of supply their 
condition became desperate. To add to their 
troubles the year 1788 was one of complete 
crop failure. Of the following season when fam- 
ine stalked in the land I have heard some pitiful 
tales. Many actually died of starvation while 
others were saved only by the game and wild 
pigeons which they were able to capture. 

"These pioneers were grouped in five com- 
panies under the leadership of Captain Grass, 
Sir John Johnson, Colonel Rogers, Major Van 
Alstine, and Colonel Macdonell, and to each 
company was allotted a township. Four of these 
companies were composed mainly of soldiers and 
people who belonged to the mercantile classes 
in the Old Thirteen Colonies. Knowing nothing 
of bush life and little more of farming they 
were ill-prepared for the rugged life of agricul- 
tural pioneers. 

"The Adolphustown settlers, under Major 
Van Alstine, on the other hand were mostly far- 
mers and were able to turn their past training to 
good account. The first landing took place at a 
little cove about a stone's throw from where D. 
W. Allison, at one time member for the Com- 
mons, afterwards built a fine residence, and on 


the farm of which Nicholas Hagerman was the 
first owner This llagerniau was the father of 
Chief Justice Hagerman and three members of 
parliament. A granddaughter married the Hon- 
ourable John Beverley Robinson at one time the 
Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario. 

' ' Scarcely had the pilgrims settled in their new 
home when a final resting-place had to be 
found for a child which had succumbed to the 
hardships sustained during the journey. The 
site selected for burial was on a slight eminence 
a little way back from the water's edge, and the 
grave prepared for the little one formed the 
beginning of the first cemetery laid out by 
those now peopling Ontario. Within the en- 
closure so formed the body of Nicholas Hager- 
man, one of the first practising lawyers in Can- 
ada, was laid later on; but the location of this 
grave is unknown to-day." 

"You see," saidtheRev.Mr.Forneri, who took 
up the story, "stones could not be procured at 
the time the first burials took place and the 
wooden slabs that were put up decayed in a few 
years. But before long tombstones could be 
procured, and if you visit a nearby graveyard 
you will find monuments marking the resting- 
places of Caseys, Ingersolls, Hoovers, Rich- 
monds, Allisons, and Huffriails of that gener- 
ation, while overshadowing all is a splendid 
granite shaft, bearing the inscription: 'U. E. 
Loyalist Burying Ground, In Memory of the 
Loyalists who landed here June 16th, 1784.' ' 

"But the extreme hardships of the very early 
days," broke in Mr. Allen, "before many years 
became a thing of the past, Probably no house- 


holds at any time were more self-contained 
than the homes of these pioneers. Both men and 
women worked hard, the land was fruitful, and, 
since there was little sale for any produce, food 
and the raw materials for clothing and shelter 
were in abundance. Good houses, all of wood, 
took the place of log cabins, and barns that of 
rude hovels. Orchards had early been planted, 
and these provided plenty of domestic fruit to 
supplement what was gathered from the bush. 
Every matron prided herself on putting away 
quantities of it for home use. A long narrow 
strip of territory bordering on the waterfront 
thus within a few years became a place of com- 
fortable living, and to many it seemed as though 
the sum of all they could expect or even desire 
in this life had been attained." 

From this our conversation drifted to the 
coming of later immigrants, and Mr. Forneri 
recalled an incident associated with a cemetery 
within the city of Kingston. Here lie the bodies 
of some four hundred Irish immigrants who per- 
ished of cholera in 1847. A monument erected 
on August 6th, 1894, marks the spot, and it 
was at the base of this monument that Arch- 
bishop Cleary and Principal Grant, doughty 
champions of opposing ideals in a conflict of the 
passing generation, forgot their antagonisms as 
their tears mingled in memory of those who per- 
ished almost as soon as they set foot in a land 
wherein they had hoped to find a happier home 
than the one left beyond the sea. 

The stories surviving in Lennox at the time 
of my visit were chiefly of a sombre nature, but I 
also gathered some facts of quite another char- 





acter. To Adolphustown, the front township of 
Lennox, belongs the honour of having formed the 
first municipal government in Ontario. "The 
record of that government still exists," said Mr. 
Casey. "Although written by men engaged in 
the rough work inseparable from pioneer life, 
it is a model of neatness. Indeed, I question 
if there is in the province to-day a better kept 
record of the kind." 

Some of the fiercest political battles Ontario 
has ever known were also staged in the historic 
county of Lennox. In one of these contests Sir 
Henry Smith and James Morton, a rich distiller, 
were the principals, with Sir John A. Macdonald 
backing Morton. The latter won and the whole 
county, at least the Morton part of it, assembled 
to celebrate the victory. "There were," in the 
picturesque language of one who heard the 
story from his father, "ten acres of teams; oxen 
were roasted whole, and feasting was kept up 
for two days and two nights." 

The story of Ontario begins with the pioneers 
of Lennox and Frontenac. It was along the 
front of these counties that the first settle- 
ment was formed by the advance refugees who 
came to this province after the American Revolu- 
tion. Here the system of municipal govern- 
ment which we have in Ontario had its origin. 
In fact the first township government in Len- 
nox, mentioned above, was formed in advance of 
provincial sanction and was taken as a model 
for the system afterwards created by provincial 
authority. Here, too, were first founded the On- 
tario branches of families whose deeds have 
since been written into the history of the prov- 


ince and of the Dominion. These families include 
the Cartwrights, Hagermans, Bethunes, Wall- 
bridges, Inglis', and Caseys. In Lennox, too, 
Sir John A. Macdonald spent his boyhood days, 
and in the beautiful cemetery of Cataraqui, in 
the neighbouring county of Front enac, his body 
rests under a plain stone bearing the simple in- 
"John Alexander Macdonald 1815-1895 at rest." 


While the pioneers on the shores of the Bay 
of Quinte were making homes for themselves, 
other settlers were coming in by way of Niag- 
ara and the head of Lake Ontario. Of these the 
Trulls, Burkes, and Conants penetrated farthest 
east and located in what is now Durham 
county. On the second day of October, 1794, 
these families began the first settlement in the 
township of Darlington. 

"There were no roads on either side of the 
head of the lake at that time," said Jesse Trull, 
a quarter of a century ago the head of the Trull 
family, as he told the story of the migration 
at a family picnic held on the old homestead 
in 1898. "On a journey that can now be made 
in a few hours we spent a month and one day. 
Leaving the old home in New York State on the 
first of September, we skirted the south shore 
of Lake Ontario in open boats to Niagara. 
From Niagara we followed the shore lino all the 
way to Barber's Creek, and, on the second of 
October, camped in front of where the settle- 
ment was formed. 


"The journey was tedious, toilsome, and not 
devoid of danger. It was the month of storms 
on the lake, and when one of the frequent gales 
came up we had to pull our boats ashore for 
shelter. When night fell we also went ashore 
and camped in the woods that then covered the 
whole country from the lake front to the far- 
thest north. As matches were still an invention 
of the future we had to depend on a flint, or the 
rubbing together of two sticks, to start a fire, a 
difficult operation at best and almost impossible 
of accomplishment when rain was falling. Our 
cooking utensils were pots hung on stakes over 
an open fire, and our food consisted of fish 
caught in the lake, game obtained from the for- 
est, and bread hastily cooked from the flour we 
carried with us. Sleep was frequently broken 
by the howling of wolves, and some of the party 
had to remain on guard all night." 

Nor were hardships at an end when the final 
stopping place was reached. Rather had they 
but begun. 

"It was not then a drive of a few miles to 
town, over gravelled roads, when groceries were 
needed," said the patriarch. "Kingston and 
Toronto were our nearest markets and the jour- 
ney, made in 'dug-outs' (boats fashioned from 
hollow logs), was a matter of days. Even when 
schooners appeared on the lake, transportation 
was no easy matter. In the absence of wharves 
the vessels had to lie out in the lake while farm 
produce was transported to them in open boats. 
One of the tragedies of the early days of settle- 
ment happened when Jesse Trull, my uncle, was 
drowned while transferring grain from a row- 


boat to a schooner that was engaged in gather- 
ing farm produce along the shore." 

One of the heirlooms in the Trull family is a 
small iron pot; and connected with the pot is a 
story that throws much light on the difficul- 
ties of the pioneer period in Darlington and the 
resource with which the difficulties were met. 

"In that pot my Grandmother mixed the herbs which served all the 
medicinal requirements of the first settlers. ' ' 

"In that pot," Jesse said, "my grandmother 
mixed the herbs which served all the medicinal 
requirements of the first settlers. My grand- 
mother had rare skill in the preparation of 
these herbs and she was further fortified by a 
book of directions in midwifery and the heal- 
ing of the sick. Her services were frequently 
called on over a wide stretch of country, and, as 
there were at that time no bridges across the 
numerous streams flowing towards the lake, she 
many times had to swim her horse through them 
when on her missions of mercy. On one occasion 
the grandfather of S. Caldwell, of Hamilton 
township, near Cobourg, called upon her to visit 
a member of his family who was dangerously ill. 



The two set out together and arrived at the 
river at Port Hope just as night was falling. 
Mr. Caldwell had nearly lost his life in cross- 
ing the stream in daylight and he feared to 
make a fresh venture in the gathering dark- 
ness. Not so Mrs. Trull. She boldly drove her 



horse headlong into the water, breasted the 
swelling flood, and on arriving at the other side 
lit a pine torch with the flint she carried. By 
the fitful flame of the pitch pine, she followed 
the blazed trail in the woods for the rest of the 


journey all alone and arrived in time to save 
the life of her patient." 

Frequent reference is made in these sketches 
to "blazed trails." A "blaze" was made with an 
axe or draw-knife, and consisted in cutting a 
small piece of bark from a green tree. Marks so 
made on tree after tree served to show the way 
from place to place through the forests. 

A most interesting document connected with 
the beginning of the Trull settlement is the 
record of the early marriage of Luke Burke to 
Nancy McBane in the "leafy month" of 1805. 
In April, 1807, John Carr was married to Betsy 
Woodruff "with the written consent of the 
bride's father." In December of the same year 
John Burke of Darlington was married to Jane 
Brisbin, of Whitby, "with the consent of the 
latter 's sister and brother-in-law," these prob- 
ably being the legal guardians owing to the 
death of the bride's parents. Another curious 
light is thrown on the legal requirements con- 
nected with the marriage ceremony in the 
record of the solemnization of the marriage of 
Joseph Gerow to Pamela Trull by Alex. 
Fletcher, a magistrate of that day. The record 
sets forth that there was not an Anglican min- 
ister within eighteen miles, and this fact was the 
sanction for the performance of the ceremony 
by a Justice of the Peace. 

Death as well as Cupid hovered near by. On 
a gentle slope on the Trull homestead, many of 
the first settlers in Darlington sleep their last 
sleep, while the winds sing a nightly requiem 
in the tops of the murmuring pines that stand 
like sleepless sentinels guarding the hallowed 


ground. Near the centre of the plot is a marble 
headstone bearing the inscription: "John Trull, 
died Feb. 19, 1830, aged 84 years." This marks 
the grave of the first of the Trulls of Darling- 
ton. Close at hand is the resting-place of " John 
Casey Trull, Captain in H. M. S., born Sept. 2, 
1795, died May 13, 1880." That is the grave of 
the first Trull bom in the township and the 
father of Jesse. 

And Jesse himself, full of years and rich in 
the memory of a long life well spent, has since 
been gathered to his fathers. In fact, nearly 
all of those who supplied the material for this 
book have since died. Although dead they still 
speak, not only in the record here given but also 
by the work of their hands. 


We turn now to the movement westward 
from the Niagara frontier a movement which 
occurred at the same time as the movement east- 
ward along the north shore of Lake Ontario, 
led by the Trulls, Burkes, and Conants. This 
westward migration was composed largely of 
Pennsylvania Dutch, and the first settlements 
were formed in what is now the county of Haldi- 
mand. Among the Haldimand pioneers were 
the Culps, Hoovers, and Hipwells, and it was 
from their descendants that most of the facts 
given in the following story were obtained. 

Tilman Gulp, his wife, and two children ar- 
rived in the township of Rainham in 1794, and 
Mrs. Dedrick Hoover, a daughter of one of these 
children, told part of the story of the journey 


from Pennsylvania as she had learned it from 
her mother. 

"I have heard my mother say," said Mi's. 
Hoover, "that all their belongings on arriving 
at the new home, in what was then an unbroken 
forest, consisted of a horse, a cow, and half 
a bag of flour. The flour, the milk produced by 
the cow from the herbage of the forest, and 
such game and fish as they were able to secure 
furnished their sole means of subsistence until 
the first crop was gathered a year later. 
During the summer the cow foraged for her- 
self in the woods, in the winter the children 
broke sprouts from young trees, and these were 
fed to the cow as she stood tied to a stump. 
In early spring, when provisions were almost ex- 
hausted and the new crop was not yet ready 
for harvest, grandfather gathered beech leaves, 
and these were boiled to make a stew for the 
children. The memory of that dish and it 
seemed sweeter than honey to the well-nigh 
famished children lingered with my mother 
until the end of her life. Shortly before her 
death she murmured, 'Oh, I wish things would 
but taste to me as they once did/ 

"Even at this our people were better off than 
some. A couple of boys from a neighbour's house 
came over one morning and put on a fire for 
grandmother, begging her to cook food for them. 
But she had nothing to cook and the lads had to 
return as hungry as they came. 

"On another occasion, when my mother had a 
few loaves of bread in the house, she saw a party 
of Indians approaching. She knew that there 
would be no food left for her children if the 



Indians once got sight of the loaves, so she has- 
tily dropped them into a barrel, put a slab on 
top, and placed one of the babies on the slab. 
The Indians did not think of disturbing the 
child and so the bread was saved." 

Mrs. Hoover 's husband, eighty years of age 
when this story was told, was also a grandchild 
of one of the first settlers. "My grandfather 


"In the winter the children broke sprouts from young 
trees, and these were fed to the cow as she stood tied to a 
stump. ' ' 

came in 1798 to spy out the land," said Mr. 
Hoover, "and settled here four years later. His 
party travelled in covered wagons from York, 
in Pennsylvania, and were six weeks on the 
way, camping at night in the woods while on the 
journey. Many of the rivers crossed on the pil- 


grimagc were without bridges, and in such cases 
it was necessary to cut down trees and form 
rafts on which the belongings of the party could 
be floated across. 

"When our people settled here the nearest 
mill was at Bridgewater, within sound of 
Niagara Falls, and to that mill grists had to be 
carried in open boats, the distance equalling 
about a third the length of Lake Erie. Land 
was the only cheap article in the new settle- 
ment. My grandfather traded a horse, saddle, 
and bridle for the lot on which he settled." 

There was no one in the new settlement with 
the medical skill of Grandmother Trull, and, in 
answer to a question as to what happened when 
people took ill, Mr. Hoover made the grim 
answer: " We let them die and then buried 
them." Provisions, too, frequently grew scarce, 
and on one such occasion Mr. Hoover's uncle 
heard splashing in a nearby creek (there is no 
creek there now), and he knew that the noise 
indicated fish. Two or three of the settlers 
promptly went to where the splashing was 
heard, caught eleven mullet by hand and soon 
relieved the pangs of hunger. "When the first 
crop of potatoes and wheat was harvested the 
people thought that they were rich," Mr. Hoo- 
ver concluded. 

One of the first of these Pennsylvania 
emigrants was Mother Hipwell. According to 
Uriah Rittenhouse, another of the early settlers : 
"Her party was eleven weeks in making the 
journey by wagon from Pennsylvania to where 
they settled on 'The Twenty' in Lincoln. A par- 
ticularly sad incident took place during that 


.journey. A baby was taken ill by the way, and 
one night while the party camped in the woods, 
miles from any human habitation, the little one 
died. Next morning, after a simple ceremony, 
the small body was buried at the foot of a mighty 
oak and the dreary journey was resumed. But 
every feature of the surroundings of the lonely 
grave was stamped on the mother's memory, and 
she declared, to the day of her death, that if she 
ever again came near the spot she would be able 
to remember the tree beneath the wide-spread- 
ing branches of which her child was sheltered in 
its last sleep." 

But the great oak and its neighbours long 
since have fallen beneath the woodman's axe. 
Even the stumps have disappeared. Where the 
giants of the forest once stood there now may be 
orchards of cherry and plum from which other 
children gather fruit knowing nothing of the 
frail body which lies mingled with the dust 
beneath their feet. 

There were dangers as well as privations in 
the new home amid the primeval forest. Bears 
and wolves were everywhere and Mrs. Hoover's 
grandmother once put a blanket over the open 
doorway to serve as protection against a pack 
of wolves. But the privations and dangers of 
the early days are now only a rapidly fading 
memory. The narrow clearings, which yielded 
a scanty subsistence, have been widened to 
broad acres of fruitful soil and the doorless 
cabins have given place to comfortable brick 
homes. One thing yet remains, however, a her- 
itage of good neighbourhood, thrift, and honesty. 
In the Rainham of to-day, as in the Rainham 


of the pioneers, the word is the bond, and the 
latch string of hospitality ever hangs outside 
the door. 


While the Hipwells and their fellow-travellers 
journeyed to Haldimand, another section moved 
towards the townships of Markham, Scarboro, 
and Pickering. The leader in this movement 
was Christian Reesor. In 1801, Christian, ac- 
companied by his son Peter, travelled on horse- 
back from Franklin county, Pennsylvania, to 
examine the country and to bring back inform- 
ation. Very soon they traded their horses for 
land on the tenth concession, Christian selecting 
lot four as the site of his future home. Since 
they had parted with their horses, the two had 
to return to Pennsylvania on foot. On reach- 
ing their old home they set about making ar- 
rangements for their final journey to the wilder- 
ness of the north. Owing to delays in selling 
their Pennsylvania holdings and packing up, it 
was not until 1804 that the journey to Canada 
was begun. Accompanying Christian on this 
occasion were four sons Peter, John, Abraham, 
and Christian, Jr. From these the Canadian 
Reesor connection of to-day is descended. John, 
one of the four, had fifteen children and three 
of these children had in turn families of nine, 
ten, and fourteen respectively. 

From Noah Reesor, a son of Peter, I obtained 
some particulars of the Reesor migrations from 
Pennsylvania to Markham. "I believe," this 
descendant of the pioneers stated, "that our 
people spent six weeks on the journey. The 


party travelled in wagons and camped wher- 
ever night overtook them. They drove their 
cows with them, the animals feeding by the 
wayside and being milked night and morning. 
The butter was churned in the wagons, the vibra- 
tion of the rude vehicles assisting in the work 
of churning. After the family had fairly settled 
down in Markham, and the first crop was har- 
vested, the grain was carried on horseback over 
bush trails to Toronto to be ground into flour. 
In the 'summerless year,' the awful year of 
1816, almost all the grain was frozen and what 
little was saved was gathered by men wearing 
overcoats as a protection against the cold." 

Josephus Reesor, a son of Peter, in telling of 
how the original settlers obtained their first 
food, said that they followed the cattle to the 
woods. Any plants the tops of which were eaten 
by the cows the settlers concluded were safe for 
human food and the roots were dug up to make 
a stew for the table. Thus, by trusting to the 
instinct of the dumb brutes, they avoided poison- 
ous herbs. "There was," he said, "only one 
store in Toronto at that early period and my 
father rode there and back to purchase supplies. 
Obtaining a water supply was another problem. 
Wells were to be found on only a few farms and 
in some instances water was obtained from pools 
formed by falling rain. Of at least one kind of 
food there was an ample supply. Large salmon 
could then be caught in the River Rouge at 
Cedar Grove." 

The father of William Armstrong, a connec- 
tion of the Reesors by marriage, planted the 
first orchard in the settlement. The trees were 


seedlings and their fruit furnished a welcome 
addition to table supplies over a large part of 
Scarboro and Markham. 

The first stone house in the township of Mark- 
ham was erected on lot four of the ninth in the 
'thirties, and a bank barn was put up on the 
same place about the same time. The timbers 
for the barn were cut from pine that yielded 
logs fourteen inches in diameter and forty feet 
in length, and they were all hewed by one of the 
Reesors with a broad-axe. 

One of the relics of the early days is a trunk 
covered with deer-skin. Connected with that 
trunk is a sad story, paralleling that of the 
child buried beneath the wide-spreading oak 
by the party of Haldimand pioneers. This 
trunk belonged to the third Christian, a grand- 
son of the founder of the Reesor settlement in 
York. This third Christian accompanied his 
father to the old home in Pennsylvania in 1826. 
The young man was seized with fever on the 
return journey and died at Lewiston. The 
father could not leave his dead to rest among 
strangers and so made a rude coffin of boards, 
and, with his dead son as companion, made the 
rest of the journey to the now desolate home in 
the forest. There the body lies among his own 
kindred in the little cemetery on the hillside 
at Cedar Grove. In that cemetery beneath sweet- 
smelling locusts, twenty years ago I counted ten 
graves in a group, all Reesors with the excep- 
tion of one Wheeler, a connection by marriage. 

But the descendants of those who are gone 
are as the sands of the seashore. At Locust Hill 
Creamery, when the present century was young, 


a third of the patrons were Reesors; two-thirds 
of those who patronized the local smithy at the 
same time were also Reesors; within a day's 
travel were five hundred of the same name, and 
with their connections in the Hoovers, the 
James', the Armstrongs and others, they ran 
into the thousands in the county of York alone. 
There are still more in the old home in Pennsyl- 
vania; and men of the name are found almost all 
the way from the Gulf of Mexico to Hudson 
Bay, and from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific. 
Wherever in Canada the Reesor name is known 
it is held in honour and respect. 

For some further particulars of the Mennon- 
ite settlements in Markham and adjoining town- 
ships I am indebted to what was told me in 1898 
by John Koch, another descendant of those who 
made the great trek from Pennsylvania in the 
beginning of the last century. 

"Delegates were first sent to select land for 
the new settlement," Mr. Koch said, "and after 
these preliminary arrangements had been com- 
pleted, stock was gathered together, goods and 
chattels were piled in wagons, and then the pil- 
grimage to the northland began. In that part 
of the United States which our ancestors trav- 
ersed, the roads were not bad, but once the fron- 
tier was passed real hardship commenced. 
Roads had to be cut through the bush; livers 
forded by the plunging horses; and, in going 
down some of the steep hills, logs had to be 
hitched to the wagons to prevent them from run- 
ning over the animals. 

"Nor did hardships end when our people 
reached their new home. Rather were these 


increased. Toronto, twenty miles distant, was 
the nearest point at which groceries could be ob- 
tained and a trip there occupied three days, the 
nights being spent in such shelter as the forest 
afforded. In Toronto itself you could almost 
have drowned a horse in the mud holes on some 
of the streets. ' ' 

Mr. Sherk, one of the early settlers, teamed 
cordwood to Toronto, which he sold at one dol- 
lar and a half per cord. He hauled a cord and a 
half at a time, starting long before daylight and 
not getting home until late at night. The 
women worked quite as hard as the men. They 
rose at four in the morning to spin flax before 
breakfast, and after supper, spinning was 
resumed and continued until nine or ten at night. 
From the flax was made all the clothing many 
of the first settlers had to wear both winter and 
summer. In order to save shoe leather people 
went barefooted while in the house in winter 
and barefooted everywhere in summer. The 
first shoes worn in summer by one of the pion- 
eers were a pair loaned him by his grandmother. 

Shortly after the settlement was formed, 
death came to a little child in the Sherk home- 
stead. There did not seem to be, anywhere in the 
forest, an opening large enough to make room 
even for the body of a child. A small clearing 
on a hillside belonging to a neighbour on the 
fourth of Markham was at last discovered and 
the privilege was requested of using part of 
this as a resting-place for the dead. The request 
was granted, and this, the first burial, took place 
on the fourth of Markham in what is believed to 
be the oldest cemetery in the township. 



' ' The women worked quite as hard as the men. They rose 
at four in the morning to spin, and after supper, continued 
until nine or ten." 



While the last century was still young, im- 
migrants from beyond the seas were attracted 
to Canada. For many interesting stories of the 
immigrants of that period I am indebted to Wal- 
ter Riddell, father of Judge Riddell of Toronto. 
Not only had he a fund of information furnished 
him by his neighbours, but his own memory went 
back to the early days of Central Ontario. 

When Mr. Riddell came to Canada from Dum- 
fries in 1823, he crossed the Atlantic on a two 
hundred ton sailing ship, the Whitekaven, and 
was seven weeks and two days in making the 
voyage to Quebec. From Quebec to Montreal 
the journey was continued by steamer and from 
Montreal to Prescott in a ''Durham boat." 1 
Passengers who had a few shillings to spare 
could obtain sleeping quarters in the cubby holes 
forward or aft, while those who could not pay 
slept in the open space in the centre. When the 
wind favoured and there was no current, such 
boats were driven by sails; over shallows they 
were " poled" along by the voyageurs; and up 
the Long Sault they were hauled by thirteen 
yoke of oxen and a team of horses walking on 

1 A Durham boat was about thirty feet long with an 
enclosed space at each end. 





the bank. From Prescott to Cobourg the jour- 
ney was made by steamer. 

"At that time," said Mr. Riddell, "William 
Weller ran a stage line from Kingston to 
Toronto. During the summer, while boats were 
running, there was little business for the stage, 
and the horses were turned out to pasture, but in 
winter the owners of horse transport did a ca- 
pacity business. 

"The first considerable influx from the old 
land began about 1820. Among the earliest 
arrivals from that quarter were the Coverts, 
Jeffreys, Wades, Plews, Spears, Dales, McCor- 
micks, Powells, and Rowes. When this migra- 
tion was at its height in the thirties, Rice Lake 
Road was a stirring highway. Immigrants 
landed at Cobourg and were carried over the 
road to Sully on Rice Lake and from there by 
open boats to the country further north. Before 
the railway was built to Harwood on Rice Lake, 
large quantities of flour, lumber, and other sup- 
plies were hauled over the same road to Cobourg 
for shipment across Lake Ontario to the 
American market. 

"The first store in Cobourg was built by Elias 
Jones in 1802. Mr. Jones later on built the 
first grist-mill in the township of Haldimand. 
The first wagon in the township was made by 
Elijah Buck about 1808. Oliver Stanton, born 
about the first year of the last century, is 
said to have been the first white child to see the 
light of day in Haldimand township. 

"The first settlers in the township ground 
their corn by pounding it in a hollow stump or 
log, and such as had wheat were obliged to take 


it by boat to Kingston to be made into flour. On 
one occasion boats carrying grain were driven 
into Presqu'isle by a storm and frozen up there 
for the winter. During the winter season it was 
a common thing for a settler to have to carry 
flour on his back for twenty or thirty miles 
through the woods. 

"The year 1816 was a particularly trying one 
on the young settlement as there was frost 
every month in the year. None of the corn 
ripened and the whole community was on short 
rations. Even at a much later date serious 
hardships were suffered, the springs of 1836 and 
1843 being particularly trying. At that time 
most of the farm animals, save horses, were 
sheltered in the lee of strawstacks, and, as shel- 
ter and feed were both scarce, cattle died by the 

"As soon as a young man had erected his 
shack in the woods he was considered ready for 
marriage, and the bridal tour was made from 
the parental home of the bride over a blazed 
trail to the new abode. In the home the Bible 
was read by the flickering blaze of a pine knot, 
as even candles were unknown to the first set- 
tlers. Preachers travelled on horseback and 
carried their belongings in a saddle-bag. Some- 
times, when night overtook them in the woods, 
they slept in the shelter of an overhanging pine. 
When a preacher arrived in a settlement, mes- 
sengers were sent far and wide to announce that 
service would be held in a certain home. 

"It was difficult to obtain teachers of any 
kind, and those chosen were generally men who 
were unable or unwilling to do any other kind 


of work. Payment for teaching was made by 
the parents, the charge never being less than 
two dollars per quarter for each child sent 
to school. 

" Municipal taxation in 1826 was at the rate 
of a penny in the pound for district purposes 
and a fourth of a penny for the services of the 
district's representative in the Legislature. 
The assessment varied according to the charac- 
ter of the house, whether it was built of squared 


"Unless the teacher was a man of nerve and resolution he had little 
chance of maintaining order in the schoolroom." 

log, frame, brick, or stone. The highest tax 
paid by one person in that year was fifteen dol- 
lars and thirty-seven cents and the lowest, three 
cents. Twenty-eight ratepayers paid eight 
cents or less. 

"Everything in the way of clothing was man- 
ufactured at home. Linen clothing was made 
from flax grown on the farm, and home-grown 



wool was transformed into woolen clothing; all 
the operations from sheep-shearing and flax- 
pulling to spinning and weaving being carried 
out on the farm. Tools and implements used in 
cultivating the land and harvesting the crops 
were made, for the most part, either by the 
farmers themselves or by local blacksmiths. 
Wooden harrows were fashioned in the shape of 


a V so that they would more readily pass 
between stumps, and the teeth were slanted 
backwards to facilitate passing over roots. 
Iron forks and hoes were made by local 
blacksmiths, and plows of the same mater- 
ial were also the product of township smiths. 


These plows had single handles with cross- 
bars to hold them by. The first plow of 
the form now in use was called the 'Dutcher' and 
was made in Toronto, the 'Norton' plow follow- 
ing soon afterwards. The 'Dutcher' cost from 
six to eight dollars and was made of cast metal. 
Nearly all the local blacksmiths tried their hand 
at making the new kind of plow, but the best was 
made by John Newton of Cobourg. It cost 
twenty dollars as compared with fifty dollars for 
one imported from Scotland. The 'Lapfurrow,' 
which sold for seven dollars, was the first 


American plow imported. The first reaper in 
the neighbourhood, and I believe the first in the 
province, was imported from Rochester by Dan- 
iel McKeyes in 1843. The horses used in oper- 
ating it were driven tandem and a man stood 
on the platform to throw off the sheaves. This 
reaper would cut twelve acres in a day and did 
as good work, so far as cutting was concerned, 
as the self-binders of to-dav. The McCormack 



reaper, which appeared in 1847, was too light. 
Helm & Son of Cobourg began making reapers 
about 1848 and secured first prize for their 
machine at the Provincial Exhibition. In 1860, 
I was judge at Dundas in a competition between 
self-raking reapers, but these did not prove suc- 
cessful. The Marsh harvester, first used in 
1868, worked well in light grain, but in a heavy 
crop the two men who stood on the platform to 
bind could not keep up with the cutting. The 
first self-binder I saw was at a show at Roches- 


"When moved from one farm to another the horse power 
was loaded on the front wheels of the wagon first and the 
thresher on top of that. ' ' 

ter in 1868. The mowing-machine did not ap- 
pear until 1850 or 1852. The first I saw was 
made by Ketchum of Buffalo and cost one hun- 
dred dollars. It was heavy on horses and hard 
to manage. 'Ball's Ohio,' which was put on the 
market soon afterwards, was long a favourite. 

"The revolving wooden horse-rake was intro- 
duced about 1840 or 1841, the first one in our sec- 


tion being used on Angus Crawford's place. It 
sold at seven or eight dollars, and I doubt if a 
greater labour-saver was ever produced at 
less cost. 

"The first threshing-machine in our neigh- 
bourhood made its appearance in 1832. When 
moved from one farm to another the horse pow- 
er was loaded on the front wheels of the wagon 
first and the thresher on top of that. Then the 
reach and front wheels of the wagon were con- 
nected up with the rear wheels and the outfit 


was ready to move. When the thresher was in 
operation the grain was threshed by the cylin- 
der beating the heads against the bottom of the 
machine. Grain and straw came out together, 
and one hundred bushels was a day's run, and 
the work was wonderfully well done. The own- 
er of the outfit received every fifteenth bushel 
for his toll. John Livingstone introduced the 
Pitt separator in 1842, and all threshing- 



machines that came later were simply improved 

'There were no stoves in the early days and 
most of the fireplaces were built of a mixture of 
clay and straw. In the chimney was placed a 
cross-bar of wood or iron, and from this were 
hung the pots and kettles used in cooking. The 
pots were for cooking potatoes or pork and the 
kettles for baking bread. These kettles were 
usually about two feet in diameter, with an iron 
lid, and coals were placed above and below for 


' ' If one of the lads found a big red ear of corn he had 
the privilege of kissing the lass next to him, and it is sur- 
prising how many big red ears were found. ' ' 

baking. In some places brick or clay ovens were 
built outside the house. 

'But/' continued Mr. Riddell, "despite all 
the hardships of those days, and even if the lar- 
der was not always too well filled, they were the 
happiest period in our lives. Neighbours were 
always welcome in each other's homes to what- 
ever the board could provide. We had our sim- 


pie pleasures, too, oue of these being found in the 
'husking bee'. At these bees lads and lassies 
occupied alternate seats. If one of the lads 
found a big red ear of corn he had the privilege 
of kissing the lass next to him, and it is sur- 
prising how many big red ears were found. The 
husking bee, held in the evening, was usually 
preceded by a quilting bee in the afternoon, 
which was attended by women only, the men 
coming later for the husking. The latter was fol- 
lowed still later by a dance at which home made 
cheese, cake, and punch were served. (Whiskey 
was then only twenty-five cents a gallon.) How 
late did we keep it up I That depended on the 
company and the state of the roads, but the boys 
generally managed to get to bed by midnight 
after first seeing the girls home. John Grieves ' 
place, lot twenty-seven on the second of Haldi- 
mand, was a favourite place for these old-time 
social gatherings." 


Henry Elliott, long known as "The Father of 
Hampton " was one of numerous Devonshire folk 
who settled in Durham county in the first half 
of the past century. 

Born shortly after Trafalgar, Mr. Elliott sailed 
for Canada on the Boline, in 1831. The size 
of the ship can be imagined from Mr. Elliott's 
statement that her sixty-one passengers crowded 
her to the limit. Among the passengers were 
Rev. J. Whitlock, at one time stationed at Port 
Perry; Richard Foley, whose descendants for 
years lived west of Bowmanville; and Thomas 


Courtice, whose family name was taken for a 
roadside hamlet east oi' Oshawa, where many of 
the connection still reside. 

Leaving England on the fourth of May, the 
Boline reached Prince Edward Island on the 
fifth of June, and after spending ten days there 
in discharging part of her passengers and 
freight, she arrived at Quebec ten or twelve 
days later. From Quebec, Mr. Elliott was car- 
ried by the usual mode of conveyance at the 
time as far as Kingston, and from Kingston to 
Port Hope the passage was made by steamer. 
As there was then no dock at Port Hope, the 
passengers for that point were landed in a barge 
known as the Red Rover. This barge was own- 
ed by an uncle of Dr. Mitchell who afterwards 
practised medicine at Enniskillen. 

While at Port Hope, Mr. Elliott worked for 
a time in a mill owned by John Brown. "Mr. 
Brown," said Mr. Elliott, " owned a store as well 
as a mill and he adopted a novel method of 
bringing business to the store. When he heard 
of anyone in the back country of Clarke, Cart- 
wright, or Manvers who was not buying at his 
store, and whose business was worth having, he 
promptly entered suit against the prospect for 
an imaginary bill. The next stage, of course, 
was a call at the store, in a state of indignation, 
by the party sued. 

" 'What do mean by suing me?' the indig- 
nant one would ask. 'I don't owe you any 
money. ' 

" 'Of course you don't. I only sued so as to 
bring you out where I could see you!' 

"The caller as a rule saw the humour in the 


situation. In any case he enjoyed the royal 
entertainment offered him, and the usual result 
was that he became a friend of Brown and a 
customer at his store." 

In 1840, Mr. Elliott decided to establish a mill- 
ing business of his own at Hampton. There was 
not a house in the place at the time, merely the 
frame for a mill. Mr. Elliott purchased this, 
at the same time erecting a shanty for his own 
residence, thus giving the place its first name, 



" Shanty town." The capacity of the mill, when 
it was completed, was only from forty to fifty 
bushels per day. 

"Customers for the new mill came not only 
from the neighbourhood but from Cartwright 
and Manvers," said Mr. Elliott when telling his 
story in May, 1899. "There was then hardly a 


horse in the whole surrounding country and 
oxen were used to haul the grain. Some did not 
have even a wagon, and in that case a sapling 
cut from the bush was made use of. The butt 
was fastened to the yoke and the crotched 
end allowed to trail on the ground. On this 
crotch a board platform was nailed and the grain 
placed on that. With such primitive convey- 
ances the settlers often drove fifteen or twenty 
miles, spending two days going and coming, and 
sleeping in the mill at night while waiting for 
their grists. 

" About the time I established the mill John 
Farley obtained eight hundred acres, with fifty 
cleared, in exchange for a frame tavern six miles 
west of Port Hope. Dr. Ormiston, the well- 
known Presbyterian divine of his day, 'logged 
his way through college' by helping to clear 
his uncle's farm. Later on a boom struck 
Hampton and quarter-acre village lots sold for 
as much as three hundred and fifty dollars; but 
the boom collapsed in the crash of the 'fifties, 
and forty years later these same lots could have 
been bought for thirty-five dollars." 

Hampton is still, however, a beautiful little 
village and Hampton people have honoured 
themselves by creating one of the most attrac- 
tive parks to be found in rural Ontario as a 
memorial to the founder of the village, one who 
served well his day and generation. 

Durham County has been not inaptly describ- 
ed by some enthusiastic Durhamites as "the 
mother of factories." Nor is the claim without 
basis. The McLaughlin motor plant in Oshawa 
owes its origin to a little shop erected by the 


first of the McLaughlins at the cross-roads vil- 
lage of Enniskillen, a shop for making wagons 
and sleighs, one such as might be found in al- 
most any little hamlet in Ontario at that time. 

Mr. Allin, to whose memory I am indebted 
for the story of the Millerites, given in a subse- 
quent chapter, 1 told me, too, that he remembered 



when the shop of Hart A Massey's father, in 
Newcastle, gave employment to just three per- 
sons. That was the period when owners of lit- 
tle smithies all over the province were turning 

1. See page 318 et seq. 


their minds to the development of new forms of 
labour-saving implements for the farm. After 
these inventions had begun to take shape, field 
contests between rival builders of reapers pro- 
vided excitement almost equalling that caused 
by the Millerites. 

As the Massey factory forged ahead, New- 
castle, a peaceful enough village to-day, began to 
assume metropolitan airs, at one time boast- 
ing no fewer than three papers. "One of the 
Newcastle journals of that time/' Mr. Allin said, 
"was published by Calvin H. Powers. Mr. 
Powers was a gifted speaker as well as a con- 
vincing writer. He was a leading figure in elec- 
toral contests waged by Munro, who represented 
West Durham before the time of Edward Blake. 
Powers afterwards removed to the Western 
States and became a still more prominent figure 
in politics there. He gave Abraham Lincoln 
able assistance in his first Presidential cam- 
paign and was afterwards elected Governor 
of Minnesota. ' ' 

The numerous branches of West Durham fam- 
ilies were then as now widely scattered in 
America and frequently distant relatives met in 
unexpected ways. Concerning the Allin connec- 
tion, Reeve Frank Allin of Clark told me: "A 
brother of mine moved to California and some 
time after his arrival there, simply because of 
his name, he was invited to an Allin family 
picnic in that State. In the course of conversa- 
tion it was discovered that the California Allins 
were a branch of our common connection in 
England and that they were descended from an 
Allin who had moved to California about the 


same time that the first of the Allins migrated 
from England to Canada." 


The most remarkable feature connected with 
the following story is that, although told me so 
recently as 1920, the narrator remembered when 
the howling of the wolves could still be heard in 
the swamp between Lake Ontario and where 
the Kingston Road cuts through the little village 
of Newtonville, in the county of Durham. 

Samuel Jones, from whom the story was ob- 
tained, was only eight years short of the cen- 
tury mark at the time of telling it. But time 
had dealt lightly with this veteran. He was 
at work in his garden, in the afternoon of a hot 
August day, when the interview began. As we 
walked towards the house his step was as firm as 
that of a well-preserved man of fifty, and I 
found him able to read fine print without the 
aid of glasses. Of all those whose stories are 
told in these pages none had a clearer recollec- 
tion of the events, not only of recent occurrence, 
but of the remote past. Add to this the fact that 
Mr. Jones was born on the farm on which I met 
him and the interest of the information is still 
more enhanced. 

"Even within my recollection," Mr. Jones in- 
formed me, " Kingston Road was little more 
than a path through the bush. I can remember 
when our grists had to be carried to Port Hope, 
and in the time of my father, settlers about New- 
tonville, and from as far back as Omemee, went 
all the way to Kingston to have their grain made 



>. .- 


into flour. As a lad, when going after our cows, 
1 have heard wolves howling in the swamp at 
the lower end of our place near the lake front. 
One night, on a farm owned by a man named 
Charters on the fifth concession of Clarke, 
wolves tried to tear a hole in the roof of a shed 
in which sheep were sheltered. I have speared 
salmon in Drury Creek, which crosses the farm 
of John Barrie; a creek that is now little more 
than a succession of puddles. It was a common 
thing for settlers then to take a couple of barrels 
of salmon from the lake in a night. 

"I have seen the sky darkened by the flight of 
wild pigeons, and, when these alighted in 
myriads on the ground to feed, it seemed as if 
the surface of the earth was heaving as they 
moved about. Indians came regularly in spring 
to make baskets in the adjoining woods, baskets 
that were traded to the settlers for provisions. 

"I have seen the sickle give place to the 
cradle, the cradle to the reaper, and the reaper 
to the self-binder. Intermediate between the 
sickle and the cradle was a scythe with a hole 
bored in the centre of the blade and connected 
with the snath by a wire 'hauled taut.' With 
that tool an expert could lay a swath as neatly 
as swaths were afterwards laid by a cradle. 

"Our first cradle, called the 'Grape Vine,' 
was made by Asa Davis, at Newcastle. It was 
a clumsy implement, but Joseph Moulton once 
cut six acres of rye with it in a day. Our first 
reaper was 'The Woods,' invented by a man of 
that name, and made at Newcastle by the first 
of the Masseys. That was, in my opinion, the 
best reaper ever made. 


"Quite early in my time a wooden horse-rake 
was developed. When the rake was full, it could 
be revolved on its axle and the rakings dumped. 
The same implement was used in pulling peas. 
One man thought he would improve on this and 

built a steel rake of the 
same pattern ; but, when 
this was used in pea har- 
vesting, almost as much 

,'' 's-i*Z'r-.T tmX/i t/i, : mx\ << 
I.IMIJ " i^-'-J^^^-^ './;, 



grain was threshed out as was gathered in 
the pods. 

* * The first threshing-machine in the neighbour- 
hood consisted of little more than a cylinder, and 
the threshed straw had to be raked away by 


hand. I spent one winter operating this 
threshing outfit. Our practice, on arriving at 
a farm at night, was to break the crust on the 
sno'iv where the horse-power was to be placed, 
and then to let the power down to solid ground. 
Snow was next packed around the machine and 
water poured on the snow. By morning the 
horse-power would be frozen solidly in place and 
the necessity of staking avoided. 

" Before we bought our first fanning-mill my 
father cleaned his grain by laying a sheet on the 
ground and pouring out the grain from a 
pail held at an elevation, the wind being relied 
on to blow away the chaff. 

"As grain production increased. Port Granby 
became an important shipping point, and I have 
seen as much as ten thousand bushels of barley 
loaded into waiting schooners in a single day. 
To-day the Port is not even a remains. The 
piers rotted away years ago and stone-hookers 
carried off the stone used in filling the cribs. 

"Other ' industries' came with increased pro- 
duction. Distilleries were in my youth about 
as numerous as schoolhouses are now. There 
was a distillery in Newtonville, another between 
Bowmanville and Newcastle, and a third at Port 
Granby. With so many stills in operation, 
drunkenness was rife. The first counter influ- 
ence was that exercised by Methodist missionar- 
ies who covered the country on horseback. The 
missionaries I best remember were Douse and 
Van Dusen. 

"There was great excitement, and something 
more than excitement, in connection with early 
elections. Newtonville had the one poll for the 


riding and voting was continued for several 
days. On one occasion rival factions, each led 
by banners and fife and drum bands, met in u the 
middle of the road. What might have been an- 
ticipated happened; banners were torn to rib- 
bons, drums smashed, and some heads were 
cracked as well. Something worse occurred on 
one occasion, when one man voted, as another 
thought, the wrong way. The offender was 
struck on the neck with a club and dropped 
dead, and the 'Cavan Blazers' 1 prevented the 
immediate arrest of the offender." 

The story of Mr. Jones' father's selection of 
a lot is as interesting in its way as is a story 
told by the Honourable Manning Doherty of the 
refusal of his great grandfather to accept a farm 
located at the corner of Queen and Yonge 
Streets, Toronto. The first of the Jones family 
had secured the location on which the town of 
Ornemee stands; but when he found this could 
be reached only by travelling over several 
miles of blazed trail, he traded the lot for four- 
teen bushels of wheat and bought lot eight, on 
the first of Clarke, which was then part of the 
Clergy Reserves. Years afterwards he was 
offered two hundred acres near by for one hun- 
dred dollars, but, although having ample funds, 
lie refused to accept the offer. The property 
afterwards sold for one hundred dollars an acre. 
Dame Fortune, fickle jade though she is, and 
although her offers had been twice spurned 
once at Omemee and again later on would not 
be wholly denied. Part of the Jones homestead 
forms a section of the site of the village of 

I See Page 320 et eq. 


Newtonville, and there has, therefore, been some 
unearned increment in that case. 

The first house on the Jones homestead was 
of log, but this was soon replaced by a stone 
structure. Even that was grey with age when 
this story was told, although the narrator of 
over fourscore and ten, born before the stone 
house was erected, was still vigorous in mind 
and body. On the same homestead the first 
orchard in the neighbourhood was planted, and 


"In the centre are three trees, a pine, a basswood, and a walnut. 
Here lie buried eight members of the family of William Cornell." 

one of the trees, a Pumpkin Sweet, over one 
hundred years old, was bearing fruit when I 
was there. 

In company with one of the third generation 
of the family I mounted the hill on which the 
village cemetery is located, and there I saw, what 
I had observed in countless other cemeteries, 
where the pioneers of the settlement lie. On the 


stones above the graves were the words "native 
of ' ' with the name of the English village, Scot- 
tish glen, or Irish valley, in which those who 
have passed away were born. On returning to 
the Jones home, the man whose memory covered 
well nigh a century of time told me that fully 
two-thirds of the names I had seen are no longer 
heard in the township of Clarke. The first 
of those bearing the names have passed beyond 
the line dividing time from eternity. The de- 
scendants are more widely scattered than "The 
Graves of a Household." Why is it that the 
place of birth, so fondly remembered by the 
first generation, as evidenced by the inscriptions 
on the headstones in the old cemetery, has failed 
to hold the children born here beneath the shade 
of majestic pines and amid the autumn glories 
of broad-leaved maples? 


Samuel Billings, living north of Orono at 
the time of my visit, also told of the early days 
in Clarke. 

"Our first farm," he said, "a mile south of 
Orono, was purchased about 1831, from the Hon- 
ourable Peter Jackson of Toronto at three dol- 
lars per acre. Ten years later we moved to our 
present farm, four miles north of Orono. This 
we purchased from Jeremiah Orser, Port Perry, 
for eight hundred and fifty dollars. Even at 
that comparatively late date we had to cut 
a road for half a mile through the bush to reach 
the place. When we first came to Clarke there 
was only one house, Dr. Herriman's, in the 


neighbourhood. Charles Bowman, after whom 
the town was named, owned a grist-mill at 
Bowmanville. The late Honourable John Simp- 
son was an adopted son of Bowman. Abraham 
Butterfield, Charles and John Bellwoods, John 
Middleton, R. W. Robson, and E. Gifford were 
among those who settled along the front of the 
township about the time we came in. 

" Just south of Orono was a little prairie that 
had apparently formed over an old beaver dam. 
I have seen a dozen deer sunning themselves 
there at one time. Indians came here from as 
far away as the Credit to hunt them, and one 
halfbreed in a party killed ten deer in one day." 

Thomas Thornton, father of C. J. Thornton, 
ex.-M.P., and one of the Thornton-Powers con- 
nection, also contributed to these Clarke remin- 
iscences. Mr. Thornton, born in Yorkshire, as 
a boy of six came to Canada with his father in 
the 'twenties of the last century. He was thir- 
teen weeks and three days in crossing the Atlan- 
tic, and three weeks more were spent on the 
journey by Durham boats between Quebec and 
Montreal. "And," Mr. Thornton told me, as 
we sat on his porch in Orono, twenty-three 
years ago, "it rained on every one of those 
twenty-one days, save three." That certainly 
was no pleasure trip for a boy of six. In 1835, 
while still a lad, Mr. Thornton went to live with 
Thomas Best on the eighth of Clarke. "On one 
occasion," he said, "when we required to have 
some wheat ground, and having no horse of our 
own, it was necessary to pack the grain to a 
neighbour's place. We divided it into four bags, 
and Best and I carried two bags for a distance 


and then went back for the other two, and so on, 
each carrying two bags alternately until we had 
covered the two miles between our place and 
Bill Livingstone's. Then Bill teamed the grain 
to Bowmanville to be ground for us. At that 
time there were only three horses in the town- 
ship north of the sixth concession. 

"When Mr. Best first moved to his farm, his 
worldly possessions consisted of three pigs, an 
axe, and what he considered sufficient pork, 
flour, and potatoes to see him through until next 
harvest. During the following May he began 
to fear that pork and potatoes were going to run 
short and he decided to apportion what remain- 
ed to make sure of having at least some for each 
day until a new supply came in. He weighed 
a pound of pork, cut it into slices, counted the 
slices and from this calculated how many slices 
per day his remaining stock would allow him. 
Next he filled a half-bushel measure with pota- 
toes and counted the number of potatoes per 
day he could afford for each meal. In this way 
he managed to keep up a daily supply until new 
sources were available. In order to hasten the 
fattening of the pigs I had to go to the bush and 
hunt cow cabbage to feed them. And I assure 
you fattening the kind of pigs we had then, by 
the means described, was no picnic. The pigs 
were of the kind that required a knot in their 
tails to prevent them from slipping through a 
hole in the fence. 

"In the summer of 'thirty-seven, bears were 
almost as thick as blackberries, and the tracks 
left by wolves were as common as sheep tracks 
are now. One morning when I was trying to 


kindle a fire under a sugar kettle in the bush on 
lot twenty-seven on the eighth concession I look- 
ed up and saw a wolf eight feet away. He 
moved off, and you may be sure I made no 
effort to interfere with his going. One evening, 
again, when I was sitting up with a girl (we 
were all boys once) I heard wolves howling in 
the bush and suggested to the girl's father that 
the sheep had better be brought in. He said I 
might go after them if I liked, and I did so. 
Meantime the owner of the sheep remained com- 
fortably in bed. " 


When I spent a few days along the St. Law- 
rence, between Prescott and Cornwall, in the fall 
of 1899, there was still living a man who as an in- 
fant was present when the battle of Chrysler's 
Farm was fought in November, 1813. There 
were a number in the neighbourhood who had 
heard stories of the battle from parents or 
grandparents and almost every home held 
mementos of the War of 1812-15. 

Elias Cook, a brother of H. H. Cook, the 
political rival of D 'Alton McCarthy in North 
Simcoe in the 'eighties, was a year old when the 
American army landed on the north shore of the 
river and seized for headquarters the tavern 
kept by his parents. A mile and a half west- 
ward the Chrysler homestead served as head- 
quarters for the British, and midway between 
was the Casselman House, that was still stand- 
ing when I was there. 

"The whole thing came upon us so quickly," 




Mr. Cook told me, "that 110 time was allowed 
for the women and children to escape, and my 
mother hustled me into the cellar for protection 
from the cannon balls that British gunboats in 
the river began throwing at the American head- 
quarters. " 

Nelson Casselman, a grandson of the Cassel- 
man who held the homestead in 1813, showed me 
the cellar in which his grandmother hid the 
sheep and the little Casselmans together. "The 
Americans/' said Mr. Casselman, "took the 
family's horses for transport, killed the cows for 
beef, and made soup for the officers' mess from 
the chickens." 

But the loss of horses was not all one-sided. 
After the battle, a couple of American horsemen 
on rearguard duty were suddenly confronted by 
a man named Adams and ordered to surrender. 
The Americans, believing the musket which 
Adams held could carry further than their pis- 
tols and that his bayonet was more dangerous 
than their swords, promptly complied. Adams 
then marched his prisoners back to the British 
commander, who was so pleased with the 
exploit that he told Adams to keep the horses, 
and for years afterwards the animals were used 
in his farm work. The joke was on the Amer- 
icans ; Adams had not so much as a single charge 
for his gun when he captured his two prisoners. 

After the battle a number of American 
wounded were carried into the Casselman home, 
one of these an old man. Mr. Casselman told me 
the story of his death as he had heard it from 
his parents. "He was an old man whose sands 
of life were nearly run out in any case. As the 


setting sun changed the St. Lawrence into a rib- 
bon of gold his eyes turned toward the south and 
he said lie would die in peace if he could but 
see the children and grandchildren who once 
played about his knee. But death came with 
the night and next morning his body was 
laid, with those of other American dead, in a 
trench east of the house, where our orchard was 
afterwards planted." 

Mr. Cook was able to point out the exact pos- 
ition of an American four-gun battery, as 
the log and earth breastworks still remained 
until he himself removed them in the 
'seventies to place the ground under cultivation. 
At the base of the Casselman barn, which was 
standing when the battle was fought, I was 
shown a round hole in a board. The hole, ac- 
cording to tradition, was made by a British 
round-shot that killed three Americans. The 
Casselman of 1813 afterwards dug up the ball 
from where it had buried itself in the ground 
and it was still preserved hi the Casselman home 
at the time of my visit. In the Cook home I saw 
what looked like a carpet ball (painted red, 
white, and blue) but which, Mr. Cook told me, 
was a cannon-shot fired at the house by one 
of the British gunboats in the river. Mr. 
Casselman had a musket his grandfather found 
hidden in a strawstack after the battle. He 
thought it had been left there by an American, 
but as the piece bore the Tower mark this was 
hardly possible unless the weapon had been cap- 
tured from the British in a previous engage- 
ment. Bullets were dug up by the hundred in 
the years following the battle, a few being found 


at times right up to the close of the last century. 
Another relic of the past was a small box that- 
had been left by Lieutenant Ingalls of the 
British forces, who was on guard at the Cook 
place for some time after the battle. 



The most interesting of all the reminders of 
the past was the Casselman home itself. The 
heavy beams supporting the floor had been hewn 
out of solid logs with a broad-axe one hundred 
years before my visit. The lumber forming the 
floor had been whipsawed by the grandfathei- 


of Nelson Casselman and his neighbours. At one 
end of the main room was a stone fireplace, nine 
feet wide by four feet deep, and five feet high; 
but this had been bricked up and was no longer 
visible. "I can remember, though, when all our 
cooking was done in that fireplace, " said Mr. 

The Cook tavern of 1813 was displaced in the 
'twenties by an imposing brick structure, which 
at one time served as the half-way house be- 
tween Montreal and Kingston. Even the inter- 
ior walls were of brick. "The mortar used in 
laying those bricks," Mr. Cook told me, "was 
made from lime burned on the premises. The 
stones from which the lime was burned were 
broken by dropping on them twenty-four-pound 
cannon balls that had been picked up from the 
field of battle. 

"In the old staging days the tavern was a 
lively place. I have seen in the yard at one 
time four stage coaches with horses ready to 
move. Priests and bishops, lawyers and mer- 
chants were among the guests, and beds were 
set as close together as that," said Mr. Cook 
placing his outstretched palms side by side. 
"But it was when the lumbermen dropped off 
on their way up or down the river that things 
really did liven up. As many as two hundred 
of these were about the house at one time with 
enough fiddles to furnish music for the whole 
party. British officers and soldiers stopped 
there, too, on the way to or from Kingston. On 
one occasion a couple of officers had ten thou- 
sand dollars in coin with which to pay the troops 
at Kingston and other posts. The officers, when 


going to bed, put the coin on the window-sill as 
they were afraid the weight would break 
through the floor. They did not even lock the 
windows, but a sentry stood outside the door 
and other soldiers slept in the yard." 

The country about Prescott was the scene of 
stirring events at a later date. I visited "The 
Windmill," with its memories of 'Thirty-Seven. 
This structure, built of stone, one hundred feet 
in circumference, sixty feet high, and with walls 
three feet thick was no mean fortress at the time 
of the Rebellion of 1837. 

"My father was engaged in the attack on the 
raiders who had seized the windmill," David 
Reid told me. "He said that even the big guns 
brought from Kingston were incapable of dam- 
aging the building. The stones had been set in 
wedge-shape and the pounding of the artillery 
seemed but to drive them more firmly into 

George Heck, who was on service at the 
time of the attack, said that some of the 
buildings near the windmill were set on fire. 
One of these was a bakery, and a couple of the 
enemy had taken shelter in the oven. Their 
bodies, burned to a crisp, were found after the 

The man who told of this incident was a 
grandson of Barbara Heck, the Mother of Can- 
adian Methodism; and that opens up a more 
pleasing tale of the days of old. "All the 
preachers that passed this way in the early days 
of Methodism," said Mr. Heck, "stopped at our 
place. Rev. Dr. Bangs was one of the first of 
these. He was stationed at Montreal in 1806, but 


frequently travelled as far as Toronto, going all 
the way on horseback. Dr. Green was Chair- 
man of a district that took in Bytown, Gatineau, 
and Rideau. He often spent four or five weeks 
in covering his mission. There were some stir- 
ring revivals in those days. Forty were con- 
verted at one meeting held in Augusta. Rev. 
Erastus Hurlbut and I were converted together 
at the revival held there in 1835. During every 
summer camp-meetings were held north and 
west of Prescott. The music was all vocal, the 
Whitney family being among the most noted 
singers of the time. Henry Hodge and Thomas 
Coates were among the other singing leaders. 
All the old-time hymns were used, 'On, FOR A 

"The Little Blue Church" is a standing mem- 
orial of these early days of Methodism. In 
the cemetery alongside rests the body of Barbara 
Heck in company not only with other early lead- 
ers in Methodism, but with those of other de- 
nominations as well. "The Johnston cemetery 
was, I believe, the first in the neighbourhood," 
said Mr. Heck, "but the Little Blue Church 
cemetery was laid out shortly afterwards. Six 
people, amongst them my father, undertook the 
clearing of the ground." 

The cemetery is beautifully situated by the 
roadside with a gentle slope to the south where 
the majestic St. Lawrence, emblematic of eter- 
nity's flow, sings a nightly lullaby over those 
whose labours are ended. 



Immediately after the American Revolution 
some ten thousand United Empire Loyalists 
settled along the north shore of the St. Law- 
rence. The region was without roads, the only 
means of communication with their nearest 
point of supply being by water. The British 
Government furnished these first settlers with 
farming implements, grain and potatoes for 
seed, and some clothing, sufficient to tide them 
over the first three years of their sojourn in the 
wilderness. On the heels of this first ten thou- 
sand came other refugees, but for these no such 
provision was made, and for them, from the 
beginning, bush-life was most trying. 

The chief necessity of the pioneers was a shel- 
ter for their families. The rudest of log cabins 
were the first abodes, and these were built by 
the joint labour of the settlers. Sometimes the 
cabin would be built around a stump, which 
could be used as a hand-mill, or, by placing some 
basswood slabs on top, would serve as a table 
For these homes glass was not always obtainable 
and in many cases light was admitted through 
oiled paper stretched over holes in the walls. 
The household utensils were of wood wooden 
plates, wooden platters, wooden forks, and 

x The material for this section was obtained through the 
generosity of Miss Edith M. McCammon, of Gananoque, 
who loaned the editor the manuscript of a book she has in 
course of preparation, "The Story of Gananoque." Miss 
McCammon is a descendant of Charlotte Macdonald, a 
sister of the Charles Macdonald, who married Mary, Colonel 
Stone's only surviving child. 


wooden spoons. In some households forks and 
knives were unknown and home-made spoons 
were used instead. 

Wild fruit abounded, and this was gathered 
and either preserved by using maple sugar or 
dried for future use. Walnuts, hickory-nuts, 
butter-nuts, chestnuts, and beechnuts were 
stored up for winter. Honey was obtained from 

-~^=~:' * - >l * ^==*- tf.l*\&. 


wild bees and maple sugar was made in large 
quantities every spring. Game was plentiful 
and each settler had a store of venison and 
squirrel salted down in barrels made of the hol- 
low trunks of trees. Tea was scarce, a luxury 
to be used only on state occasions. These first 


settlers used, as substitutes, sage, sassafras, 
thyme, spicewood, hemlock, and a wild herb 
called the tea-plant. "Coffee" was made from 
peas, barley, acorns, and roots of the dandelion. 
Physicians were almost unknown, and these 
pioneers collected and dried medicinal herbs 
and stored them for time of need. 

But they were far from being in a land of 
plenty. Three years after the arrival of the 
first group of settlers, the crops, owing to frost, 
were almost a total failure. The British Govern- 
ment was no longer doling out aid and famine 
stalked through the land. This period of scar- 
city reached its height in 1788. In that year 
money was sent to Montreal and Quebec for 
flour; but the answer came back : " We have none 
to spare." In some places along the lower St. 
Lawrence " corn-meal was meted out by the 
spoonful, wheat flour was unknown, and millet 
seed was ground as a substitute. Here and there 
in sheltered spots the wheat crop escaped the 
frost and ripened early. The starving inhab- 
itants flocked to these fields, even before the 
wheat ripened, plucked the milk-heads, and 
boiled them into a kind of gruel. Half-starved 
children haunted the banks of the river, begging 
sea-biscuits from the passing boatmen .... 
Families existed for months on oat porridge: 
beef bones were boiled again and again; boiled 
bran was a luxury; ground-nuts and even the 
young buds of trees were eagerly devoured. 
Fortunately rabbits and pigeons were plentiful, 
and these saved many settlers from actual 

Col. Burritt, the first settler north of the 


Rideau, was one of the first-comers. Shortly 
after he made his home at Burritt's Rapids, he 
and his wife were attacked with fever and ague. 
Having no neighbours, they were forced to rely 
on themselves. So severe was their illness, that 
they were at length confined to bed and helpless. 
For three days and three nights they were with- 
out fire or food, and had made up their minds 
that they must die At this juncture a band 
of Indians appeared on the scene The squaws 
tenderly nursed " their white brother and 
sister, supplied them with food, and admin- 
istered simple but effective remedies. Mean- 
while the braves cut the corn in a small field 
the colonel had succeeded in clearing, and stored 
it in a log shack. The colonel and his wife 
made a speedy recovery, and ever after kept 
open house for the red men. It was a common 
thing to wake in the morning and discover a 
score of aborigines reclining in the hall and 
other parts of the house. When proceeding up 
the river in the spring they frequently left many 
articles with the colonel for safe-keeping, not 
forgetting, on their return, in the fall, to pre- 
sent him with a rich present of furs." 

The Indians in this part of Canada were Mis- 
sissaguas. They seem to have acted with equal 
generosity towards the settlers generally, and on 
October 19th, 1787, they received a special grant 
of two thousand pounds in goods as a reward for 
the aid they had given the United Empire Loyal- 
ists. From the Indians the settlers learned the 
art of making maple sugar, of spearing fish by 
torchlight, and of making clothes from deer- 
skins. From the Indians, too, they got moc- 


casins, splint or Indian brooms, and baskets- of 
all kinds. 

One of the most annoying things the pioneers 
had to contend against was the prevalence of 
bears, wolves, and foxes. It was almost impos- 
sible to keep sheep, pigs, or fowl from these 
rapacious nocturnal prowlers. How common 
were wild beasts can 
be gathered from the 
fact that Joseph 
Slack, an early settler 
near Parmersville 
(Athens) killed on his 
farm 192 deer, 34 
bears, and 46 wolves. 
As a bounty of four 
dollars was paid for 
wolves' heads and two 
for those of bear, a 
skilful hunter could 
profit by the presence 
of these pests. But 
sometimes they men- 
aced the lives of the 
settlers. On one occa- 
sion a girl of sixteen 

Was SPnt on horseback A DAUNTLESS RIDER 

With a bag Of COrn to '.' At tui ' cs ^c wolves were so close 

she could see their eyes gleaming 
have it ground at the through the darkness." 

mill in Yonge. It was 

midnight before the corn was ground, but this 
dauntless lass began her retimi journey along 
the blazed path to her home. As slio cantered 
along under the spreading trees she was startled 
by distant yelps and barks, which grew ever 


nearer and nearer. She urged her horse to its 
utmost speed, but at times so close were the 
wolves that on looking back she could see their 
baleful eyes gleaming through the pitchy dark- 
ness. Nothing daunted she kept on her way, 
her steed urged to its utmost speed by the men- 
acing death at its heels At last, almost 
exhausted, she reached the door of her home, 
her bag of precious food intact. 

These early settlers were not without their 
simple enjoyments. One of the first things they 
did was to set out orchards. "When the trees 
began to bear, the best apples were kept for 
winter use, and the rest made into cider. The 
apple-bees were much enjoyed by young and old. 
The boys, with their home-made apple machines, 
peeled the apples, then tossed them to the girls, 
who, with their knives, would quarter and core 
them, while older women would string them 
with needle and thread and tie them so they 
could be hung up to dry. Then followed a supper 
and after that a dance .... A wandering fiddler, 
usually an old soldier, would be called in. If 
there was no fiddler the boys whistled, or the 
girls sang dance music through combs covered 
with paper." 

Gananoque, or Cadanoryhqua, as the name 
seems to have been spelled at the time of the 
coming of the U. E. Loyalists, although not 
founded until nearly a decade after the first set- 
tlers took up homes along the St. Lawrence, 
became the commercial centre of the region 
between Brockville and Kingston. This was due 
to the business foresight and energy of its 
founder, Captain Joel Stone. Captain Stone had 


paid a heavy price for his loyalty to the Crown. 
At the beginning of the Revolutionary War his 
fine estate was plundered and he was forced to 
save his life by flight to New York, where until 
the close of the war he was active in the British 
interests, fighting both by land and sea. 

In 1776, he was ordered to take up arms 
against the British Government, but he refused. 

At the close of the war, he visited England, 
where business kept him until 1786. In that 
year he sailed for Canada, having been enrol- 
led as a military pensioner with the rank of 
captain and granted forty pounds a year. In 
1787, he started out in search of a location, and 
in a birch canoe with an Indian guide journeyed 
westward until the Gananoque river was 
reached. The spot attracted him. He decided to 
apply for a grant of the land on both sides of the 
river and had the land surveyed. But, when he 
sent in his application, he found he had a rival 
in no less a person than Sir John Johnson, who 
was industriously acquiring grants for specula- 
tive purposes. However, the difficulty was over- 
come by assigning the land on the eastern side 
of the river to Johnson and that on the west 
700 acres in all to Stone. 

In the summer of 1791, Captain Stone took 
possession of his grant, landing at a point just 
west of the present railway station. The only 
white person in the vicinity was a Frenchman 
named Care, who, with a few Indians, was liv- 
ing on Tidd's Island (Tremont Park). Stone 
got in touch with Care who came to the main- 
land and built a shanty on the point at the end 
of what is known as Water Street. Here he 


kept a house of public entertainment for all who 
passed on the river, the only highway of travel 
at this time. 

Stone went energetically to work in his new 
home and before long had a well-built house, a 
grist-mill and saw-mill in operation, and a gen- 
eral store. He had attracted settlers and 
brought in workmen, and a thriving community 
was soon in being. It is worthy of note that, as 
early as 1793, he built a substantial schooner of 
forty tons burden, the Leeds Trader, which for 
many years was in use on the river and on Lake 

Under the able leadership of Joel Stone, 
now known as "Colonel," Gananoque grew 
rapidly. When war broke out in 1812, it wa;- 
in a flourishing condition and attracted the 
attention of the American force at Ogdensburg. 
Colonel Stone took charge of the military 
defences of his district, and when the Americans, 
under Major Forsyth, landed on the Canadian 
shore they encountered vigorous opposition. 
Forsyth 's great desire was to capture Stone, and 
for this purpose attacked his house. But the 
colonel had made his escape, and his wife, as 
valiant as himself, defended their home. She 
was shot in the thigh, but held on till help came. 
At the time there was a considerable sum of 
money in gold in her possession. This she threw 
into a barrel of soft soap, an effective safety- 
deposit vault, and it was overlooked by the 
invaders when at length they succeeded in 
gaining entrance. 

In his later years Colonel Stone was greatly 
aided in his work by the Macdonald brothers, 


Charles and John, the former of whom married 
Stone's only daughter, Mary. But to the end 
of his long life he was the moving spirit in the 
community he had founded, with a keen eye to 
its material and moral welfare. As a Justice 
of the Peace he at times played the part of a 
little autocrat. " Play-actors" were a forbidden 
thing in his little 
kingdom. He classed 
them with " vagrants 
and vagabonds." In 
March, 1816, three 
" actors" appeared in 
Gananoque and ad- 
vertised a perform- 
ance to take place at 
the Brownson House, 
then recently built. 
The irate colonel 
waited on them and 
ordered them to "pass 
on from this House 
quietly and not to per- 
form the riotous feats 
of tumbling, etc." 

Eleven years later, 
in September, 1827, 
another band of 
" play-actors" had the 
temerity to visit Gan- 
anoque. But the lead- 
er of the company, James R. Millor, did not 
move on promptly when ordered and the colonel 
issued this intensely interesting warrant, indic- 
ative of the times and the man: 


"The irate colonel waited on them 
and ordered them not to perform 
the riotous feats of tumbling, etc. ' ' 


"Whereas James E. Millor, Master and Direc- 
tor of several vain persons, calling- themselves 
Playactors, Tumblers, etc., did refuse to obey 
the Orders officially Delivered to him by Joel 
Stone, Esq., one of His Majesty's Justices 
assigned to keep the Peace, etc., in the said Dis- 
trict, Requiring him, the said James R. Millor 
to desist from Playacting, Tumbling, etc., in the 
village of Gananoque as so doing would be con- 
sidered a Great Insult offered to the Legal 
Authority, and in that way of obtaining money 
from the vain and thoughtless part of the 
Human family, is against the Peace of His 
Majesty's Liege subjects in General." 

If Millor did not obey he was to be confined 
in Brockville gaol for "the space of Ten 
Hours." Millor may have weakened, as there 
is no record of his having been conveyed to the 
gaol at Brockville. 

But Colonel Stone was a benevolent despot, 
and the prosperity of the village he founded and 
the permanent strength it has as a manufactur- 
ing community are due mainly to the start he 
gave it. 


Quite a settlement had been formed along the 
Penetang' Eoad north of Barrie ten years before 
settlement began even at the southern end of 
Innisfil, the township forming the west shore of 
the lower end of Lake Simcoe. There were two 
reasons for this. The first was due to compar- 
ative ease of communication; the second, to mar- 
ket facilities. The old military highway be- 
tween Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay followed 
the line of Yonge Street to Holland Landing, 
thence up Lake Simcoe to Kempenfeldt Bay and 
then again overland to Penetanguishene. Hence 
it was a comparatively easy matter to reach the 
country about Crown Hill, Dalston, and Craig- 
hurst several years before the opening of the 
lower section of the Penetang' Road between 
Holland Landing and Barrie provided for the 
settlement of Innisfil. 

The principal reason for the earlier settlement 
in the more northerly section was based on mar- 
ket considerations. The naval and military post, 
first established at Nottawasaga, was transferred 
from that point to Penetanguishene in 1818 and 
somewhat later the post at Drummond Island 
was added. The presence of a military and naval 
station thus made this northern port a centre 
of commercial activity. It was a centre of In- 



dian trade as well, "and there was," as a grand- 
son of one of the Crown Hill pioneers expressed 
it, "a general belief that Penetang' was destined 
to be the metropolis of Upper Canada." 

The Penetang' dream of the pioneers has not 
come true, but Crown Hill, which owes its 
origin to the existence of the old naval station 
on Georgian Bay, has to its credit some- 
thing that cannot be claimed for any other rural 
section of Ontario. It gave to the province the 
first head of the provincial Department of Agri- 
culture and in the son of that head the first far- 
mer premier of the province. The Drurys, 
Partridges, and Hicklings were among the first 
to come in along the upper end of the Penetang ' 
Road, settling in 1819 near where Crown Hill 
now is; the Lucks, another large connection, 
coming in a year later. The Drurys came from 
England; the Lucks and Partridges, from 
Albany, N.Y. 

"When Grandfather Partridge moved in, he 
brought his wife and two children with him as 
far as Holland Landing," one of the third gen- 
eration told me. "Prom Holland Landing he 
walked alone all the way to Penetang, ' his route 
around the west side of Lake Simcoe to Kem- 
penfeldt Bay being over a blazed trail. After 
satisfying himself as to the future of Penetang' 
he started to walk back, digging into the soil 
at intervals by the way in order to leam its 
quality. He walked twenty-five miles before 
finding what suited him, and finally located near 
Crown Hill, taking up four hundred acres in all, 
half on the Oro and half on the Vespra side. 
Having built a log cabin he went back to Hoi- 


land Landing for his wife and children and be- 
gan family life in the new home in the bush in 
October. Afterwards, when the road was fully 
opened out, he found that his cabin was almost 
in the middle of the King's highway. Hard- 
ships? You can judge of general conditions at 
that time when I relate one fact told me 
by my grandfather. He packed his first grist 
on his back from Crown Hill to the east end of 
what is now Barrie and then paddled it in a dug- 
out the rest of the way, twenty miles, to the old 
Red Mill at Holland Landing." 

One hundred years ago Penetang' Road was 
an Indian highway, as well as a military road, 
the Indians traversing it on their way to Toronto 
for the annual distribution of presents by 
the Government. On one occasion, as narrated 
by Hunter in his " History of Simcoe County," 
a number of drunken red men called at the home 
of James White, while his wife was alone in 
the house, and were promptly chased out again 
by Mrs. White, who had armed herself with a 
pair of tongs. 

Adventures with bears there were, too, one of 
these being narrated by Hunter. Gideon Rich- 
ardson, to protect his pigs against the black 
marauders, built a pen opposite the door 
of his cabin and kept a log fire burning at night 
beyond the pen. One night, after a rain, the fire 
could not be lighted and bruin took advantage 
of the situation to raid the pen. In the course of 
the attack one pig was hurled through the door 
of the cabin into the midst of the sleeping 
inmates. There was no more sleep for the fam- 
ily that night. 

One of the first cares of the settlement about 
Crown Hill was to make provision for the edu- 
cation of the children, and some time before 1837 
a voluntary school was established, with William 
Crae as the first teacher. Crown Hill pioneers 
were also among the first to take advantage of 
the Education Acts of 1841-43, under which an 
annual provincial appropriation of twenty thou- 
sand pounds was made to assist in the work of 
primary education. In fact, a school was estab- 
lished on the Vespra side as early as 1842 with 
Edward Luck as the first teacher, a position he 
filled for twenty-two years. The selection of 
Mr. Luck was peculiarly fitting in at least one 
respect as, from first to last, no fewer than 
fifteen of his own children passed under the rod 
in that same school. 

"The building was, of course, of log," said a 
grandson of one of the pioneers, "and the ben- 
ches were of plank with home-made legs sup- 
porting them. In the beginning the building was 
used for a church as well as a school, and there 
was a pulpit in one corner for the church ser- 
vices. Pastor Ardagh and Canon Morgan were 
the first to officiate. Marriage services were per- 
formed there, and on such occasions the benches 
were moved back and boys and girls lined up in 
front of the pulpit as witnesses." 

The old minute book of the section, dating 
back to 1844, is still in existence. This records 
that Thomas Ambler, George Caldwell, and Jon- 
athan Sissons, the latter grandfather of Pro- 
fessor Sissons of Victoria College, were the trus- 
tees in 1845. The record further shows that the 
salary paid Mr. Luck in that year was twenty- 




' ' The building was used for a church as well as a school and there 
cvas a pulpit iu one corner for church services." 


five pounds currency "over and above Govern- 
ment allowance and taxes." In order to make 
up the amount required to keep the school going, 
sixteen of the settlers agreed to pay one pound 
for each child sent to school by them, the largest 
single contributor being William Larkin, who 
paid four pounds. Among the other contribu- 
tors were Jonathan Sissons, Thomas Mairs (one 
of the first importers of "Durham" cattle), 
Charles Partridge, Charles Hickling, Thomas 
Drury, and Richard Drury, the latter being the 
grandfather of Premier E. C. Drury. 

The amounts contributed by these enlightened 
pioneers for the education of their children may 
seem small to those of the present gener- 
ation, but they were in reality relatively larger 
than similar contributions to-day. Incomes were 
small. By that time local production had 
exceeded the requirements of the local market 
at Penetang' and an outlet had to be found at 
Toronto, seventy miles away over rough roads. 
The prices obtained for farm produce in general 
at the provincial capital may be gauged by the 
fact that oats teamed there, reaped with a cradle 
and threshed with a flail, sold for twenty-five 
cents per bushel. 

Among the first purchases in the way of sup- 
plies for the new school, as an ancient record 
further informs us, were "two grammars, cost- 
ing four shillings, two and one-half pence" and 
"three dictionaries costing five shillings, seven 
and one-half pence." In 1852, eleven families 
raised sixteen pounds, fifteen shillings and nine- 
pence for the school, the largest contributor in 
that year being Richard Drury, who gave two 


pounds, nineteen shillings and three-pence. At 
the annual school meeting held on January 
31st, 1853, with Jonathan Sissons in the chair, 
it was decided, on motion of G. Hickling and E. 
Luck, that there " shall be a free school." This 
resolution does not seem to have gone into effect 
at once as nine of those present voluntarily 
bound themselves to "raise any amount needed 
in excess of the legislative grant and mun- 
icipal levy. Among the nine guarantors were 
J. Sissons, Charles Hickling, Charles Part- 
ridge, Thomas Drury, and Richard Drury. In 
1855, a further forward step was taken when the 
trustees were empowered to buy maps of the 
world and of America as well as books to be dis- 
tributed as prizes at the next examination of 

I remember once hearing one of the faculty 
of Cornell University say that he could have 
made a much better man of a certain student had 
he been given the selection of that individual's 
grandparents. The present Premier of Ontario 
was fortunate in the selection of his ancestors. 
In the arduous work of the pioneer days his 
grandfather and great-grandfather had their 
full share. In the midst of blackened stumps, 
and with the primeval forest still unconquered, 
as the old school record quoted from shows, they 
bore the heavy end of the burden in providing 
for the education of the children of the pioneer 
settlement. In establishing municipal govern- 
ment the Drury family also took part; Thomas 
Drury having been a member of one of the early 
councils of Oro, while Richard Drury served as 
Reeve on different occasions, and Charles Drury, 


father of the Premier, beginning as reeve of 
Oro ended his political career as Minister of 
Agriculture for the province. It is not by one of 
fortune's freaks that E. C. Drury to-day holds 
the position of first citizen of the wealthiest and 
most populous province of Canada. 


Few men had a wider or more varied know- 
ledge of early days in Simcoe County than Wil- 
liam Hewson, who told me his story in Barrie 
in the summer of 1900. Mr. Hewson had seen 
Canadian voyageurs on their way to Montreal 
with pelts, when Lake Simcoe was a link in one 
of the chief highways between the Upper Lakes 
and the Gulf; he had seen the annual movement 
of Indians back and forth between Toronto and 
Georgian Bay; his father's home was one of the 
halting points for British soldiers on their way 
to and from Penetang', and he was eye-witness 
of the beginning of the white migration to the 
country surrounding the lake which bears the 
name of Upper Canada's first governor. 

Mr. Hewson was located at a particularly 
favourable place for viewing these movements, 
having settled with his father on Big Bay Point 
in 1820. From that date until after the last 
century ended he lived almost continuously in 
Simcoe County. 

"When I was a lad," said Mr. Hewson, "one 
of the great receiving depots in the days of the 
fur trade Avas maintained by Alfred Thompson, 
of Penetang'. Mr. Thompson's winter receipts 
of pelts had an aggregate value of from thirty 


thousand to forty thousand dollars. When ready 
to sell he advertised in England and Germany, 
and representatives of European firms came out 
to submit tenders, the highest being accepted. 
Our home at 'The Point' was on the highway 
connecting Toronto and Georgian Bay. Past 
our door Canadian voyageurs, employed by a 
Montreal firm, paddled their canoes loaded to the 
limit with rich furs taken in the hunting 
grounds of the great north country. It was a 
day's journey by canoe from Lake Couchiching 
to 'The Point,' and when the Indians were on 
their return journey from Toronto after receiv- 
ing their annuity money, I have seen seven 
hundred camped on our farm at one time. 
Soldiers on their way to and from the fort 
at Penetang' also made our home a resting 
place. Later on, when the tide of white immigra- 
tion began to flow into the country about Lake 
Simcoe a good deal of that tide swept around our 
farm. At that time two or three bateaux, carry- 
ing settlers and their effects, made regular trips 
between Holland Landing and Barrie, and we 
could see these as they rounded 'The Point'. 

"The most picturesque scenes and exciting 
times were furnished by the Indians. In sum- 
mer the clothing of the men was limited to 
breech cloths and that of the women to petti- 
coats, the body being left bare from the waist 
up. On the whole journey from Toronto north- 
ward rascally traders plied the Indians with 
whiskey, obtaining in exchange the guns, blan- 
kets, and tomahawks which the Indians had re- 
ceived from the Government. By the time Big 
Bay Point was reached the Indians, soaked with 


whiskey, were ready to quarrel on slight prov- 
ocation. When a general scrimmage began, 
the squaws grabbed the papooses and ran for : 
the bush. Strange to say, all this fighting was 
done with fists ; I never once saw guns or knives 
used. The Indians were usually chaste in their 
domestic relations, but one old chief, John 
Essence, had three wives. When converted to 
Methodism he was told he would have to put 
away two of these, and the old polygamist 
sought a way out. On being told that he could 
retain all three wives if he became a Catholic, he 
promptly abjured Methodism for what seemed 
to him a more liberal faith." 


This talk led up to tales of early marriages 
among the whites. Mr. Hewson's father was a 
magistrate and as such was authorized to per- 
form the marriage ceremony. His field covered 
the whole country from Holland Landing to 
Penetang'. "One of the first marriage cere- 
monies performed by my father was when he 
declared his neighbour David Soules legally 
wedded. Soules had gone to Pickering for his 


bride, a Miss Yeomans, and the trip across Lake 
Simcoe was made in a boat rowed by the pros- 
pective groom. 

"The law required the posting of notices of 
intention to marry in three prominent places for 
three weeks before marriage. A widower, a 
Quaker about to remarry, put up one of his 
notices in the cleft of a tree, hoping thereby to 
comply with the law while at the same time 
avoiding publicity. It happened, however, that 
a search party, while hunting for a man who had 
been lost in the bush, came across this notice 
and soon made it public enough to comply with 
the most rigid of legal requirements. One day, 
when father was away from home, a negro came 
to our place to be married. When this man 
found father was away he wanted my mother to 
act, on the ground that the Bible pronounced 
man and wife one. He contended, therefore, 
that what one could do the other could surely do 
as well. However, the colored man was told he 
would not only have to wait until father 
returned but until notice could be given also. 
Three weeks later, after legal notice had been 
given, when father went to perform the cere- 
mony, he found the couple already living 
together as man and wife. One couple, far from 
either minister or magistrate, did not have the 
ceremony performed in their case until one of 
their sons was grown up. 

"The first Methodist minister in Innisfil town- 
ship was Hardy by name, and he was hardy by 
nature. His field was from Penetang' to 'The 
Landing'; he covered that distance twice a week 
on foot and held nine services in the seven days. 


''There were few better stands of pine in On- 
tario than that of Innisfil when the first settlers 
came in. Near the site of the Twelfth Line 
Church a man named Pratt had a partic- 
ularly good lot of pine trees and he offered these, 
as they stood, at one cent per log to Robert 
Thompson, who then had a mill at Painswick. 
But pine was worth so little at the time that the 
offer was refused. When the old Northern Rail- 
way was built, pine did begin to have a value, 
and quite an active lumbering industry sprang 


up in the township. Sage and Grant, who intro- 
duced bob-sleighs into Innisfil, had a mill at 
Belle Ewart that at one time employed seventy 
men. Mills were also established at 'The Point', 
Tollendale, Craigvale, the Seventh Line, Gilford 
and Lakeland. At Lakeland, in addition to the 
mill, there was a dock, hotel, store, and a really 
attractive group of homes with locusts orna- 
menting the front yards," 


But all these mills have disappeared long 
since, and Lakeland and Belle Ewart would be 
mere sand beaches to-day had it not been for 
the development of the Lake Simcoe ice trade in 
winter and tourist traffic in summer. 

At the time that Mr. Hewson related to me 
his stories of the days when Lake Simcoe 
was an important link in a great highway 
between north and south I obtained from Dr. 11 
Paterson, then of Barrie, some further particu- 
lars regarding the beginning of the Toronto- 
Penetang' route. According to Dr. Paterson the 
journey between these two places was at times 
made by an entirely overland route as early as 

"At that time," Dr. Paterson said, "my 
father had a contract for transporting supplies 
from Toronto for the garrison of two hundred 
men at Penetang'. The entire journey was 
made by an overland route, passing to the west- 
ward of the bay at Barrie. Over part of that 
route, however, axes had to be carried to cut 
trees out of the way, and the trip occupied two 
weeks. Holland River was crossed on a 
floating bridge, and frequently, on returning to 
the river, it would be found that the 
bridge had been carried away, and it was 
then necessary to build a new one. The only 
house between Penetang' and 'The Landing' at 
that time was a hewed log affair at Crown Hill. ' 

By Andrew Wallace, one of the pioneers of 
Innisfil, T was given some further particulars 
about the Lakeland milling enterprise. "A man 
named Vance invested thirty thousand dollars 
in that venture," Mr. Wallace said. "The mill 


did not run very long and some years later, when 
the property had fallen into decay, \ 7 ance vis- 
ited the scene of desolation. As lie was standing 
on the wreck of the wharf looking into the water 
below some one asked him what was interesting 
him. "I am trying to discover where my thirty 
thousand dollars went," was the reply. 


The family history of Mr. Henry Smith of 
Barrie, another descendant of the Simcoe pion- 
eers, is remarkable for its variety of colour. The 
name was originally Schmidt, and the first of 
the name in America was Heinrich Schmidt, an 
officer in the Hessian troops sent over by 
George III at the time of the American Revo- 
lutionary War. This Heinrich was the grand- 
father of Henry Smith, whose story follows : 

"The troop-ship, on which my grandfather 
sailed to America, was eighteen weeks in cross- 
ing from Germany," said Mr. Smith. "So long 
was the voyage, that the officer in command of 
the troops asked the admiral of the fleet if he 
was quite sure that he had not passed America 
in the night. When my maternal grandmother, 
who was also with the troops, caught sight of a 
field of corn after landing, she exclaimed: 
'America must, indeed, be a rich country when 
there are so many ribbons here.' She mistook 
the leaves of the ripening corn, glistening in the 
evening sun, for ribbons hung out to dry. 

"After the Revolution my grandfather re- 
ceived a grant of land in the township of Marys- 
burg, Prince Edward County, and that is how 



Smith's Bay obtained its na^ne. A man called 
Snider, who had a rather notable nose, settled 
on a prominent point in the same township and 
hence the name, locally applied, of Snider 's 

Mr. Smith's own life was about as varied and 
full of adventure as that of his grandfather. 
As a lad of fourteen he assisted in rafting 
timber down the St. Lawrence. "More than 
once, in going through the big chute at the 


"More than once in going through the big chute at the Cedars, raft 
and raftsmen were submerged." 

Cedars, raft and raftsmen were submerged in 
the waves, and it was then a case of sit tight 
or stay under," said Mr. Smith. "Some of the 
timber forming the rafts came from Prince Ed- 
ward County, but more of it came down the 
Trent. Oak and pine logs were rafted together, 
the latter helping to keep the former afloat. A 
good deal of the timber was for spars. You 


can judge the length of some of this spar 
timber, when I tell you that I liave seen five, six, 
and even seven saw-logs cut from one tree. The 
record spar, which was one hundred and twenty 
feet long, came from Big Bay Point on Lake 
Simcoe. Eight or ten teams were used in haul- 
ing such timbers from the bush to the water's 
edge. When the rafts arrived at Montreal they 
were broken up and loaded into sailing vessels 
for shipment to England. Those timber vessels 
had large port-holes in their bows, and the tim- 
ber was hauled to these holes by horses 
operating a windlass and then shot into the hold. 
When the timber fleet was in Montreal harbour 
the masts appeared like a great forest from 
which the limbs had been stripped. As I went 
down the river on rafts I often met immigrants 
coming up in bateaux or Durham boats. These 
vessels were much alike save that the bateaux 
were open while the Durhams were partially 
decked over. Men, women, and children were 
huddled together in these craft by day and 
camped on shore at night. 

"All the lakes and rivers were then full of 
fish. I helped haul in a net near Willard's 
Beach in Prince Edward County that contained 
fourteen thousand fish, and I have seen salmon 
near there that were eight inches through the 
body. In one case a salmon actually broke the 
handle of the spear and got away, but was 
afterwards caught with the fragment still in 
its body." 

In 1847, Mr. Smith moved to Vespra, north of 
Barrie. The journey from Toronto to Holland 
Landing w r as by stage. "Near the end of the 



journey," said Mrs. Smith, "the driver, who was 
drunk, lost control of the horses on the down 
grade of one of the hills. The body of the 
stage pitched from side to side, forward and 
back, the passengers meantime holding on to 
anything within reach. It is a wonder our necks 
were not broken. 

"From the * Landing' 
to Barrie passage was 
taken by the steamer 
Beaver the remains of 
which are now buried 
beneath the foundation 
of the local Grand 
Trunk Station. From 
Barrie we followed the 
old Sunnidale or Nine 
Mile Portage Road to 
Willow Creek." 

I am indebted to Mr. 
A. F. Hunter for the his- 
tory of this old highway, 
which dates back to 
1814, and was built in 
the first place as a mil- 
itary highway. Early 
in the War of 1812-15 a 
British force had cap- 
tured the fort on Mack- 

inac Island. Later on the Americans prepared 
for its recapture. In order to reinforce the Brit- 
ish garrison a force was despatched from King- 
ston in February, 1814. This force marched 
overland via Toronto to Holland Landing and 
thence over the ice of Lake Simcoe to Barrie. 


"The body of the stage 
pitched from side to side, for- 
ward and back, the passengers 
meantime holding on to any- 
thing within reach. ' ' 


From Barrie the Nine Mile Portage Road was 
cut tlirough to Willow Creek. There, trees, cut 
from the surrounding forest, were fashioned into 
bateaux, and in these improvised craft, when 
spring came, the relieving force floated down 
Willow Creek to the Nottawasaga River, along 
that river to Georgian Bay, and thence to 
Mackinac. Block-houses as bases of supply were 
built at Holland Landing, Barrie, and Willow 
Creek; the Barrie block-house being located 
where the music hall now stands. Willow 
Creek was quite an important centre of settle- 
ment for years afterwards, but to-day not one 
stone remains upon another. Only a few holes 
mark the site, these holes having been dug in 
search of gold which tradition said had been 
buried there. 


There is possibly no other Ontario farm with 
the exception of farms along the lake frontier, 
which is so prominently connected with local 
history as is the old Warnica homestead, lot 
thirteen on the twelfth of Innisfil, opposite the 
beautiful avenue of pines on the Penetang' 
Road, two miles south of Barrie. 

The farm was given to John Stamm for his 
services with Button's Cavalry in the War of 
1812-15, and settlement duties on the place were 
begun by Stamm. Once, when on his way to the 
place from Markham township, Stamm narrow- 
ly escaped drowning in Lake Simcoe. That was 
enough of that location for him, and he sold his 
place to the first of the Canadian Warnicas for 


ten dollars. The Warnicas took possession in 
1825. Shortly afterwards, because of the grow- 
ing traffic between north and south, the house 
on the place became an inn; and, although there 
were only two rooms and a loft available for 
travellers, some distinguished guests were en- 
tertained there. It is said that Sir John Frank- 
lin spent a night at the inn on his overland trip 
to the Arctic regions, and a voyageur sent back 
by Sir John sought shelter at the same place on 
the return journey. Bishop Strachan, on jour- 
neys north and south, made this a stopping 
place; and Sir John Colborne, when Gov- 
ernor of Upper Canada, was provided with food 
and lodging there when on his tour of inspection 
of the military post at Penetang'. So well 
pleased was Sir John with the accommodation 
provided that he offered each of the Warnica 
boys a free grant bush lot. How little such lots 
were valued at the time is evidenced by the fact 
that the boys did not think it worth while to 
go to Toronto to secure the deeds of the 
property tendered them. 

When the Warnicas first settled in Innisfil, 
Lake Simcoe was still a connecting link on the 
Toronto-Penetang' highway, and Big Bay point 
was located right on that highway. David 
Soules, one of the first settlers on 'The Point', 
told Warnica he was a fool to settle so far to the 
west. "You will be away off the main road," 
said Soules, "and the blackbirds will eat all 
your crops." To-day, however, it is 'The Point' 
that is isolated while the old Warnica farm 
fronts on one of the principal provincial high- 


At the beginning the Warnicas endured many 
privations. Clothing was largely made of home- 
grown flax, and one of the Warnica boys of that 
day had to stay in bed while his one linen shirt 
was being washed. 

The first grist from the Warnica farm had to 
be hauled to the old "Red Mill" at Holland 
Landing. Once when a grist was being taken 
it was intended to make the round trip in a day, 
but the men were storm-stayed at Grassi Point 
on the return journey. The night, however, was 
spent in comparative comfort, as Indians who 
were camping there at the time supplied the 
Warnica boys with blankets. 

Running all through these old-time sketches 
incidents are related in which the first settlers 
were indebted to the Indians for kindness such 
as that shown the Warnicas. The conduct of 
the aborigines stands all the more to their credit 
when the manner in which they were being 
plundered and brutalized by white traders 
is borne in mind. 

Slowly but surely times changed for the bet- 
ter. The settlement along the Penetang' Road 
north of Barrie, producing beyond local needs, 
demanded a route all the way to Toronto, and 
money was raised, apparently by public sub- 
scription, to build around Barrie Bay a link to 
connect the old Penetang' Road north of Bar- 
rie with the line north from Holland Landing. 
Two of the Warnica boys were given the con- 
tract of cutting out the bush from Tollendale to 
Churchill, a distance of eleven miles, at five dol- 
lars per mile. That would seem very small pay 
to road-builders of to-day, but five dollars went 


a long way when Innisfil was young. The hard- 
est part of the Warnicas' task was at Stroud, 
which, although dry enough now, was a dif-' 
ficult swamp at that time. 

Previous to this the Warnicas had made con- 
siderable money in teaming military supplies 
intended for the Penetang' garrison over the 
Nine Mile Portage Road between Barrie and 
Willow Creek. Then, when settlement began to 
move into the Sunnidale and Beaver valleys, 
they obtained remunerative employment in 
teaming the effects of the more northern set- 
tlers to their destination. 

The first of the Warnicas, besides being a 
pioneer in the matter of settlement, was a par- 
ticipant in the inauguration of municipal govern- 
ment in Innisfil. He, with Charles Wilson and 
John Henry, formed the equivalent of the first 
local council when Innisfil was municipally or- 
ganized in 1841. He was also a member of the 
Home District Council, which then met in Tor- 
onto. The manner of election for a place in the 
latter body is an illustration of the free and 
easy way in which elections were carried on in 
the early days. Warnica and David Soules were 
contestants for the office and the election was 
held at the old Myers tavern at Stroud. To decide 
the matter it was arranged that one of the con- 
testants should lead his supporters south along 
the road from the tavern while the followers of 
the other should be led north. The one that had 
the largest following, and this was Warnica, was 
declared elected. 

Some of the family history of the Warnicas is 
as interesting as it that of the farm with which 



the family name has been identified for a cen- 
tury. The first of the family was a Dane, whose 
name was spelled Werneck. As a young man 
Werneck possessed considerable means, which 
he spent largely in seeing the world. On his 
return to Denmark, while telling of some of his 
adventures, his word was questioned, where- 
upon Werneck promptly struck down the 

"F ~ N \\W f' * { ^ \0 1 

fc wftro W 

fgJLifaJA; All'" 

i oTicir uTri.T.w nv i nnMnRir.n vir.Ans inn 


"Doubting Thomas." For this he was fined 
forty kronen by a Danish magistrate. On paying 
the fine Werneck asked if a second offence would 
cost the same, and was assured it would. 
Another forty kronen pile was promptly counted 
out with the" first, and then Werneck knocked 


down the magistrate. At a much later date, 
while playing the fiddle for a party in his Innis- 
fil farm, this fiery Dane had the misfortune 
to fall, and, when one of the party asked if the 
fiddle had been broken, the fiddle was hurled at 
the head of the questioner for making the first 
enquiry about the instrument instead of for the 
life that might have been lost in the fall. 

Some time after the forty kronen incident 
Werneck sailed for New York, and there the 
family name was changed to Warnick. On 
coming to Canada, at a still later date, the "k" 
was changed to "a", and for three generations 
Warnica has been one of the best known family 
names in the township of Innisfil. 

While in New York State Warnica married 
a German widow named Myers. Mrs. Myers' 
parents, and all of her grandparents with the 
exception of one grandmother, had been killed 
and scalped during an Indian raid in the 
Mohawk Valley at the time of the American 
Revolutionary War. The surviving grand- 
mother had been scalped and left for dead, but 
survived for years afterwards. Mrs. Myers 
herself escaped the massacre because, as a babe, 
she was asleep and was overlooked. 

A combination of Danish and German blood 
in the first of the family with subsequent inter- 
marriage amongst descendants of the English, 
Irish, and Scotch pioneers of Innisfil, the War- 
nicas, like the old Hessian soldiers and the de- 
scendants of the palatinates of Sunderland, 
furnish a striking illustration of the varied 
nature of the strains entering into the making 
of the Canadian commonwealth. 



When I listened to the story which follows, 
near the close of the last century, the country 
between Barrie and Penetanguishene had long 
played its part in Canadian history. Penetang' 
itself, like Toronto, figured in the War of 
1812-15, and the settlements between Barrie and 
Penetang' began almost as early as settlements 
near Toronto. The Drury farm at Crown Hill, 
for example, was taken up by the grandfather of 
the Honourable E. C. Drury in 1819, and the 
Methodist Church at Dalston bears the dates 
1827-97. At the same time, not far from the 
road leading to Penetang/ pioneer conditions 
still existed twenty-five years ago. 

What is here related is based mainly on what 
I was told by Thomas Craig, of Craighurst, who 
was then living on the north half of lot forty- 
two on the first concession of Medonte. Of that 
farm something could then be said that prob- 
ably could not be said of any other farm in 
Ontario. The lot was taken up as a grant from 
the Crown by Mr. Craig's grandfather in 1821, 
and from that time, until 1899, there was never 
a mortgage against the property, the only 
records standing in connection therewith in the 
Registry Office at Barrie being in the form of 
transfers from father to son. 

" There were," said Mr. Craig, "two reasons 
why grandfather located so far north. One was 
that the land about Kempenfeldt Bay was all 
in the hands of military pensioners and that 
about Dalston in the hands of a company; the 


other was that the British garrison at Penetang' 
provided a convenient market. 

"Penetang' garrison was maintained until 
about the middle of the century and was made 
up in part of some of Wellington's veterans. 
One of these, Charles Collins, was in the 52nd 
Regiment at Waterloo. John Hamilton was 
another Waterloo man. Private McGinnis 
served in the Peninsular War and received his 
discharge at Penetang.' He left a number of 
descendants in the country west of Craighurst. 

"As a boy," continued Mr. Craig, "I saw par- 
ties of soldiers passing along the road on their 
way to and from Penetang.' They travelled 
in small parties so as not to crowd stopping 
places between Toronto and Georgian Bay. 
Once, when a party was on the way north, the 
officer in charge swore that he would march his 
men from Newmarket to Penetang' in a day. 
He did it, but two of the men died by the way- 
side. One of these was literally done to death 
by mosquitos and was buried near where Wye- 
bridge now stands. 

"I have seen Indians, hundreds and hundreds 
of them at a time, going along the same road on 
their way to and from Toronto. In late fall they 
went south to make baskets in the woods, then 
standing near Toronto, and to sell them in the 
city. In early spring they returned to the 
Christian Islands to make sugar, to fish, and 
later on to engage in the fall hunt. Although 
drunkenness frequently occurred among the 
Indians, wo did not fear them as they uover 
offered to molost the settlers." 

Speaking of early experiences Mr. Craig went 


ou: "Grists had to be carried all the way to 
Newmarket, but the Government mill at Cold- 
water later on relieved us of the necessity of 
making that journey. About 1830, Government 
and settlers joined in erecting another mill at 
Midhurst. For our groceries we were still com- 
pelled to go to Newmarket, where the first of the 
Cawthras then had a store. The road be- 
tween here and Barrie was nothing but a trail; 
from Barrie to Holland Landing we travelled on 
the ice in winter and by boat in summer, and 
from Holland Landing to Newmarket by Yonge 
Street. The round trip occupied three or four 
days. In the beginning supplies were packed 
on the back, but later on two or three joined in 
the use of an ox-team and jumper. Event- 
ually E. C. Drury's grandfather and my father 
joined in building a road around the bay at 
Barrie, and then the entire journey could be 
made without crossing Lake Simcoe. 

"The first post-office north of Newmarket was 
at Penetang'. There was a regular mail ser- 
vice from Toronto to Newmarket, but mail for 
points further north was given for delivery to 
the first reliable settler who happened to come 
along. This volunteer carrier, the beginning of 
rural mail delivery, distributed his letters as he 
passed up Yonge Street and the Penetang' Road, 
and handed in the regular mail-bag for Pene- 
tang' when he reached that point. Sometimes 
there were letters still in this bag for settlers 
along the way, and these had to be sent back as 
chance offered." 

The first wagon that passed over this road 
was made in 1826 or 1827 by a man named 


White, of Newmarket. It was built largely of 
Swedish iron and was still in existence at the 
close of the last century. 


As the country about Creemore, in Nottawa- 
saga, was settled at an earlier date than was 
Flos, the hardships of the Nottawasaga pioneers 
were greater than those sustained by the Flos 

One of the early settlers in Nottawasaga was 
Joseph Galloway, who located near Creemore 
in 1852. Some twenty years before that time, 
Mr. Galloway's father, who was then living near 
Bradford, teamed flour into the northern town- 
ship with oxen. "That flour," said Mr. Joseph 
Galloway, "was sold to the settlers at eight or 
ten dollars per barrel ; but it was worth the cost 
as a week was taken on the round trip, and over 
a great part of the way the country was solid 
bush. It was dear flour to the settlers all the 
same, as some of those who purchased it had 
earned the necessary money by working in the 
harvest fields at 'the front' at fifty cents per 
day. Some were unable to pay the price and, on 
one occasion, one man went without bread for 
nearly two weeks. 

"Even when I moved into the township one- 
third of the lots for the last fourteen miles of the 
way had not a tree cut on them, and the others 
had but small clearings. Doer were more plenti- 
ful then than sheep are now. On the Currie farm, 
just outside of Creemore, were 'licks' to which 
deer came in droves. In a nearby creek, now a 



1 ' Kingston Road was little more than a path through the 
bush. 1 can remember when our Arista had to be carried 
to Port Hope." 



mere dribble, one could catch a pailful of speck- 
led trout in an hour. In one night wolves killed 
fourteen sheep. 

"We had the choice of four markets Barrie, 
Bradford, Holland Landing, and Newmarket. 
To reach Barrie, the nearest of the four, in- 
volved a journey covering two whole days and 
part of the nights. Our usual practice was to 
leave before three in the morning, and if we got 
back at midnight of the second day we consid- 
ered ourselves lucky. Twenty-five to , thirty 


bushels made a load of wheat. The price was 
fifty cents per bushel, and half trade at that. A 
yoke of oxen, weighing over a ton each, sold 
in Toronto for sixty-five dollars. A change 
came with the extension of the old Northern 
Railway to Collingwood and with the Crimean 
War. In the fall of 1854 I sold wheat for fifty 
cents at Bradford; the next year I got one 
dollar and a half at Stayner. 


"It was plain living in the early days. Our 
log house was eighteen feet wide by twenty-four 
feet deep, and eleven logs high. There was a 
stone fireplace and chimney at one end, and to 
reach the upper rooms a ladder was used instead 
of stairs. Bread was baked in a pot that would 
hold half a pail of dough and the baking was 
done by putting the pot in a pail of ashes on the 
hearth. We had a frying-pan with a long handle 
in which we cooked venison and trout, the pan 
being placed on the coals in the fireplace. There 
were wild plum trees about a mile away, and 
from these we gathered two or three pails in 

a season.' 

The parents of Archie Currie, formerly 
M.P.P. for West Simcoe, were also among the 
early settlers in Nottawasaga, coming there 
from Mariposa. In moving they crossed Lake 
Simcoe on the ice, and proceeded thence by way 
of Orillia and Barrie to the sixth of Not- 
tawasaga. "The clearing on the place to which 
we moved was barely large enough to enable us 
to see the blue sky above," Mr. Currie 's 
mother told me. "There was no floor in the 
house when we arrived, only a few boards to set 
the stove on; and, the doors not being in place, 
we hung blankets over the openings to keep out 
the winter wind. What is now Creemore was 
a network of tangled trees." 

It was the practice of the first settlers to go 
in parties when teaming their produce to Barrie 
with ox-teams. There were no taverns by the 
roadside, and at dinner or supper time a halt 
was made at a clearing. While the oxen ate 
their hay, the men smoked their pipes and gos- 


siped, an occasional drink of whiskey causing 
the gossip to flow more freely. Sometimes a 
party would be storm-bound in Barrie, and in 
that case a good deal of the scanty receipts from 
the produce sold would be used up in paying 
for lodging. In one instance a man was forced 
to send home for money to pay his way back. 
In another case a settler, who had packed his 
load on his shoulders, lost Ins way in the dark- 
ness on the road home. After vainly groping 
about for some time he lay down with a pine 
knot for a pillow and when he woke in the morn- 
ing he found himself within a few rods of his 
own door. 

Nottawasaga was not, like Flos, a pro- 
hibition township. In the former whiskey was 
as free as water. It was a common practice at 
stores to keep a barrel on tap at which custom- 
ers were free to help themselves at will. One 
store at Stayner continued this practice as late 
as the 'sixties and in connection with that par- 
ticular store and barrel a story is told of a hoax 
perpetrated by a practical joker of the day. 
While the barrel was free to all who came in, 
it was assumed that only such as were customers 
would take advantage of the hospitality offered. 
There was one old chap who seldom bought 
anything over the counter although he fre- 
quently drank there and a young fellow de- 
cided to cure the old toper of the habit. So 
when the thirsty one came in one day, and as 
usual began edging his way to the open barrel, 
his attention was purposely diverted for a mo- 
ment and meantime the tin cup attached to the 
whiskey barrel was filled with coal oil. The 


oil was taken at a gulp before the taste -was 
noticed, but it is probable that the weakness for 
free drinks was cured there and then. 

Tragedy was closely linked with comedy in 
the drinking habits of pioneer days. A young 
-man of eighteen, with Indian blood in his veins, 
was noted for his strength and courage even in 
a community where these qualities were a com- 
monplace. He could lift a stone that a team of 
horses found it difficult to move, and one of his 
feats was to stand on his head at the pinnacle 
of a newly raised barn. He could, too, hold his 
own with the hardest drinkers in carrying his 
load of liquor. But one day he overdid it. He 
accepted a wager that he could drink a pailful 
at one sitting. He swallowed the lot in three 
gulps, staggered to a fence corner and died. 


Hardships quite as great as those borne by 
most of the pioneers were endured by the first 
settlers between Hawkstone and Rugby, on the 
west side of Lake Simcoe. 

"When our people came here in the early 
thirties," said John Robertson, a son of one of 
the Rugby pioneers, "they had to bring their 
flour all the way from Hog's Hollow. The flour 
was teamed as far as Holland Landing and then 
carried by boats, manned by Indians, to Hawk- 
stone. From Hawkstone the settlers packed it 
on their backs to Rugby, a distance of six miles, 
and even to Medonte, six miles further on. The 
flour was usually carried in bags, but on one 
occasion Grandfather George Robertson car- 


ried home almost a barrel of flour on his 

"In 1833, the Government built a grist-mill at 
Coldwater. This was intended for the use of 
the Indians, but it served settlers about Rugby 
as well. Being only fourteen miles distant, it 
proved a great convenience. Even at that, how- 
ever, two days were spent going and coming 
with grist. At times it took longer, as not infre- 
quently fifty teams would arrive at the mill in 
one day, and then people had to wait their turn. 
While waiting, the men cooked 'chokedog', a 
mixture of flour and water, for their food. It 
was as hard as a brick on the outside and soft 
as blubber in the middle." 

Real comfort came, though, when, in 1855, a 
man named Dallas built a mill between Orillia 
and where the Hospital for Feeble-Minded now 
stands. The stone foundation for this mill was 
laid by the father of Duncan Anderson. 1 While 
engaged in this foundation work Mr. Anderson 
Sr., lived at home, three miles away. Still he 
was always at work at the mill at seven, 
remained until six, and after returning home he 
frequently worked in the logging field until ten 
at night. The old Dallas mill disappeared long 
ago, but part of the foundation still standing 
shows that the stones were well and truly laid. 

In the first year of the Rugby settlement, be- 
fore there was enough cleared ground on which 
to grow potatoes, George Tudhope, formerly 
clerk of Oro Township, planted some potatoes 

1 Duncan was for years a popular Farmers' Institute 
lecturer and later served three terms as mayor of Orillia. 


on shares at Holland Landing. He pitted his 
share when dug, and next spring moved them to 
Hawkstone by boat and from Hawkstone car- 
ried them to Rugby on his back. One spring 
when potatoes were exceptionally scarce, peo- 
ple actually dug up the tubers they had planted 
for seed in order to secure food. 


"I have been here in Innisfil longer than any 
man now living in the township. My memory 


goes back to the time long before the railway, 
when the forests, which then covered the land, 
were filled with game and when Indians were 
as numerous around Lake Simcoe as they 
still are about the north shore of Georgian 
Bay." It was J. L. Warnica, then in his 
eightieth year, but who would have passed for 
less than seventy, who made this statement. The 
story that followed fully warranted the expecta- 


tioiis aroused by the introduction. When Mr. 
Warnica was a young man, all the merchandise 
received in Barrie was teamed there from 
Toronto, and much of the teaming was done by 
Mr. Warnica himself. "When passing over 
'The Ridges' I have, from an elevation, seen 
teams as far north and south as the eye could 
reach," said Mr. Warnica. "It was like one 
huge funeral procession, and it was made up of 
wagons from as far away as Medford and 
Penetang' on the north, as well as wagons that 
had drifted in from intervening side roads. 

"The Innisfil teamsters had two favourite 
stopping places in Toronto. One was the Full- 
james House, at the corner of Queen and Yonge 
streets, and the other was the old Post tavern 
nearly opposite the St. Lawrence market. The 
Fulijames place stood well back from the cor- 
ner and covered practically the site now occu- 
pied by the Eaton store. Great sheds for the 
accommodation of teamsters filled the yards. 
The corner at that time marked the northern 
limits of the city. The buildings in Toronto were 
scattered like those of a village. The Queen 
Street asylum was two miles out of town. The 
father of my first wife bought ten acres and an 
old tavern opposite the main gate of the asylum 
for one thousand dollars. 

"Yes, there were plenty of taverns in those 
days," continued Mr. Warnica. "Between the 
head of Kempenfeldt Bay at Barrie and Yonge 
Street wharf in Toronto, there were sixty-eight 
licensed houses one for each mile of the road 
and three to spare, besides eight or ten un- 
licensed places. Distilleries were also numer- 


ous. There was one at Tollendale, opposite 
Barrie, and another on the creek that runs 
through Allandale. These were, however, soon 
snuffed out and the bulk of the business in this 
line passed to the Gooderhams. Most of my 
freight, when I was teaming, consisted of 
Gooderham whiskey. Six barrels made a load 
and, after being hauled all the way to Barrie, 
it retailed at twenty-five cents per gallon. 

"But then the freight bill was not very high," 
Mr. Warnica went on. "The regular charge for 
teaming a load of whiskey to Barrie was eight 
dollars. Out of that the teamster had to pay for 
the feed of his horses, board for himself, and the 
fee at seven toll gates. I remember once, when 
another teamster and myself had a miscellaneous 
lot of merchandise for a Barrie merchant, we 
were charged with the loss of a box of ribbons. 
I do not believe we ever received the box, but we 
had to pay for it all the same. On that occasion, 
when expenses had been deducted, there was 
just seventy-five cents to divide between us for 
the round trip. After that we preferred to haul 
whiskey as there was no chance of loss on that. 

"If freights were not high, expenses incurred 
by freighters were not extravagant either. 
Supper and bed for a man and hay for his 
team cost fifty cents at a wayside tavern. It is 
true that it was not exactly royal fare. There 
were three beds in each room and two people 
slept in each bed. There were no stationary 
wash-stands, in fact, not so much as a wash- 
stand of any kind. A basin stood in the 
bar and each man took his turn in going out to 
the pump for a clean up. 



"Some of these stopping places were not too 
warm. I well remember one night spent at 
McLeod's tavern, a little north of Aurora, The 
building was of frame and not plastered at that. 
There were two thin cotton sheets and one quilt, 
and a very thin one it was, on the bed. I had 



to rub my toes to keep them from freezing in 
the night. 

"The accommodation north of Barrie was 
poorer still. Once, early in March, father and I 


undertook to move a camp of Indians from 
Tollendale to Rama. There was at that time a 
tavern, known as The Half Way House, about 
midway between Barrie and Orillia. We pro- 
posed to stop there for dinner, but the Highland 
landlord informed us that he had no flour. 'I 
have plenty of good whiskey, though,' he said, 
evidently wondering what a man wanted to eat 
for so long as he could get plenty to drink. 
Unable to get dinner we decided to push on to 
Orillia. There we ordered dinner and supper 
in one and took our Indian charges over to 
Rama while the meal was being prepared. 
When we returned to the tavern I found, after 
unhitching, that I could not get my horses into 
the only stable in the place as the door was too 
low for the animals to pass in. The landlord 
proposed that I should let them stand in the 
shed all night, but I was afraid that they would 
perish with cold after the hard drive. So when 
supper was over I started for home, where I 
arrived at five next morning, after having been 
nearly twenty-four hours on the road. 

"The roads, south as well as north of our 
place, were as poor as the tavern accommoda- 
tion. The low places on Yonge Street and the 
Penetang' Road were covered with corduroy, 
and as the logs were of uneven size you can 
imagine what it was like driving over them. 
A little before my time a party of traders on 
their way north to trade with the Indians 
reached Grass! Point toward evening. On their 
arrival one of the traders was taken ill, but next 
day they went on to where the old Sixth Line 
Church now stands. The man's condition became 


worse and that night he died. His body was 
buried at the foot of a giant maple, which then 
stood just inside the present cemetery grounds. 
From the tragic nature of the trader's death 
there arose a story that the place was haunted, 
and a half-breed who then carried the mail 
between Penetang' and Toronto quit his job 
because he had to pass the place at night. 

"I once had a bad fright there myself. I was 
on my way from Toronto, accompanied by my 
uncle in another wagon, with a load of freight. 
We had been held up at Bradford by a thunder- 
storm and when we reached the sixth line it was 
pitch dark. A fire had been started by some 
men engaged during the day in improving the 
road and this fire spread to the hollow stub, all 
that remained of the big maple marking the 
grave of the trader. As I came near the spot 
I beheld what seemed to be a light moving slow- 
ly up and down. I at once thought of the spook 
story and my hair stood on end with fear. 
What I really did see was a succession of fitful 
flames showing first at one hole in the maple 
stub and then at another higher up or lower 
down. It was all right when the explanation 
came but exceedingly uncomfortable before 
learning the cause of the light. 

"No, I was not born in Innisfil," said Mr. 
Warnica as the conversation drifted off in 
another direction. "I was born near Thornhill. 
My grandfather (Lyon) on my mother's side 
established a grist-mill there before the time of 
Thome, after whom the place was named. A 
Pennsylvania Dutchman, Kover by name, took 
a couple of stones from the creek and dressed 


them for grinding. Before that we did our 
grinding in a coffee-mill we had brought with 
us. Before that again people crushed wheat 
with the head of an axe in a hole made 
in the top of an oak stump. This stump 
was on the third of Markham, near Buttonville, 
and I remember quite well seeing the hole in it 
and hearing the story. To my Grandfather 
Lyon was issued one of the first two Crown 
deeds granted in Markham." 

Turning once more to the early days near 
Barrie, Mr. Warnica had something to say 
of Indian life and the abundance of game 
that then filled the woods. "I have seen," 
he said, "as many as one hundred Indian 
tepees in the woods about Tollendale on the 
south side of Kempenfeldt Bay. It was an 
interesting sight to watch the making of an 
Indian home in winter. The head of the family, 
carrying bow and arrow, tomahawk and knife, 
strode ahead. The mother, carrying one or two 
papooses on her back, as well as the household 
belongings, followed. When the site selected 
for the camp was reached, the Indian chopped 
down a few saplings with crotched tops. The 
squaw meantime, with a cedar shovel, formed a 
circular hole in the snow. The crotched sticks 
were set up around this and covered with bark 
or evergreens; a fire was started in the middle 
of the tent, evergreen boughs were spread on the 
ground and covered with fur, and, in half an 
hour, the house was ready for occupation. While 
the work of preparation was going on the 
papooses, strapped to flat boards, were lumg up 
on trees bv hooks at the heads of the boards. 


If one cried the mother would stop work for a 
moment and soothe the child with a gentle rock- 
ing accompanied by a lullaby. 

"Game bear, deer, partridge, and pigeons- 
was more than abundant. I have killed 
partridges with a club. I once struck down a 
pigeon with an ox-goad; another time, with two 
shots one fired into a flock of pigeons as they 
were feeding on the ground and the other as they 
rose I secured twenty-nine birds; I have fre- 
quently brought down ten or a dozen at a single 

"As a boy, I have heard the wolves howling in 
the woods at night, and in the morning the 
sweat would pour from me with fear as I went 
into these same woods to hunt for the cows. On 
one occasion I helped capture two young bears 
on the Penetang' road opposite our place, a little 
south of Barrie. We cut down the trees in 
which the animals had taken refuge and then 
killed them with clubs. 

"What became of the pigeons? I do not 
know, but I have a theory. My theory is that all 
this game was placed here for the use of man 
when no other form of food was available and 
that it disappeared when the need for it no 
longer existed. 

"I have witnessed almost all the changes that 
have taken place in Innisfil," said Mr. Warnica 
as he concluded his story. "I was here at the 
beginning of the settlement, and I was already 
a young man when the railway came. I bought 
my first overcoat with money earned in making 
pick- and axe-handles, and cart shafts, for use 
in the work of construction. I came here as 


an infant, and the longest time I have spent 
away from home was when I put in twenty- 
eight days at the World's Fair at Chicago. I 
was always interested in fairs; I attended 
twenty-two out of twenty-four of the old Pro- 
vincials in the days when the fair was held 
alternately at London, Kingston, and other 

Mr. Warniea's first wife was a niece of John 
Montgomery of Montgomery's Tavern and his 
second, a niece by marriage of Samuel Lount, 
one of the martyrs of 'Thirty-Seven. But Mr. 
Warnica himself was a mere child in the 
troubled times of the 'thirties and all he knew 
of the period before the rebellion was a mere 
matter of hearsay. He told of one incident, 
however, that throws some light on the con- 
ditions that helped to fan the flames of revolt. 

"My uncle William," he said, "was one of 
the first advocates of free schools and he once 
broached the subject at a meeting at Barrie. 
'What do you need such schools for?' stuttered 
one of the Family Compact champions. 'There 
will always be enough well educated Old Coun- 
trymen to transact all public business, and we 
can leave Canadians to clean up the bush.' 

The sentiment thus expressed is not wholly 
dead yet, although it exists in a somewhat differ- 
ent form. There are still those who think they 
were made to ride while others were made 
to be ridden. 


One of the most interesting and instructive 
accounts of pioneer life of Upper Canada dur- 


ing the early part of the last century is contained 
in Reminiscences of a Canadian Pioneer, by 
Samuel Thompson. Thompson was a man of 
some education, having served a seven years' 
apprenticeship in London, England, at the print- 
ing trade. He was a writer of ability and 
no mean poet, and during his later years in 
Canada was an editor and publisher. He 
remained but a short time in the bush, but the 
account of his experiences throw much light on 
pioneer conditions. 

A settler to reach Canada from the British 
Isles had in nearly every case trying exper- 
iences. Little thought was given to the com- 
fort of the emigrants by the transportation 
companies of those days, and the journey across 
the Atlantic was not the least of the trials the 
early settlers had to endure. Thompson's case 
was no exception. He and his two brothers, 
Thomas and Isaac, sailed from London in the 
spring of 1833 in the Asia of 500 tons, a large 
ship for those days. Buffeted by head winds, 
the Asia spent a fortnight in the English Chan- 
nel, but, a favourable breeze springing up, they 
made an excellent run until the banks of New- 
foundland was reached, when it seemed that 
their voyage was about ended. Here they en- 
countered a furious storm, against which the 
Asia could make no progrss. To make matters 
worse, the vessel sprang a leak, the ballast 
shifted, and, lying at an angle of fifteen degrees, 
she wallowed in the tumbling waves. Crew and 
passengers manned the pumps continuously, but 
still the water gained on them. The captain 
discovered that the leak was in such a position 

that when running before the wind it would be 
out of water, and so to save his ship he turned 
about and made for the Irish coast and succeeded 
in reaching Galway Bay. Here the damage was 
repaired, and with the addition of some wild 
Irish, Roman Catholics and Orangemen, to her 
list of passengers the Asia once more headed 
Canadawards. On the passage the vessel was 
almost wrecked, when passing through a field 
of icebergs, "by the sudden break-down of a 
huge mass as big as a cathedral/' 

When Quebec was reached, the passengers of 
the Asia were transferred to a fine steamer for 
Montreal. At Lachine, bateaux were provided 
to carry them up the St. Lawrence. While at 
Lachine they had a picturesque reminder of the 
vastness of the land in which they were about 
to make their homes. 

" While loading up," says Thompson, "we 
were favoured with one of those accidental 'bits' 
as a painter would say which occur so rarely 
in a life-time. The then despot of the North- 
West, Sir George Simpson, was just starting for 
the seat of his government via the Ottawa River. 
With him were some half-dozen officers, civil and 
military, and the party was escorted by six or 
eight Nor '-West canoes each thirty or forty 
feet long, manned by some twenty-four Indians, 
in the full glory of war-paint, feathers, and most 
dazzling costumes. To see these stately boats, 
with their no less stately crews, gliding with 
measured stroke, in gallant procession, on their 
way to the vasty wilderness of the Hudson's 
Bay territory, with the British flag displayed at 
each prow, was a sight never to be forgotten." 


It is unnecessary to detail the Thompsons' 
westward voyage, similar to that of other set- 
tlers already described in this book. Sufficient 
to say that they reached Little York on the 
steamer Cnited Kingdom during the first week 
in September, 1833, four months after leaving 
London. "Muddy Little York," as it was not 
undeservedly called, had then a population of 
about 8,500. According to Thompson, "in 
addition to King street the principal thorough- 
fares were Lot, Hospital, and Newgate Streets, 
now more euphoniously styled Queen, Rich- 
mond, and Adelaide Streets respectively." 
Where the Prince George Hotel now stands was 
"a wheat-field." "So well," writes Thompson, 
"did the town merit its muddy soubriquet, that 
in crossing Church Street near St. James' 
church, boots were drawn off the feet by the 
tough clay soil; and to reach our tavern on 
Market Lane (now Colborne Street), we had 
to hop from stone to stone placed loosely along 
the roadside. There was rude flagged pavement 
here and there, but not a solitary planked foot- 
path throughout the town." 

The Thompsons purchased a location ticket 
for twenty pounds sterling, and set out for the 
Lake Simcoe district "in an open wagon without 
springs, loaded with the bedding and cooking 
utensils of intending settlers." After a day's 
journey, they reached Holland Landing and 
from there crossed to Barrie in a small steamer. 
Barrie, at that time, consisted of "a log bakery, 
two log taverns, one of them also a store, and 
a farm-house, likewise log. Other farm-houses 
there were at some little distance hidden by 



"To see these stately boats, on their way to the vasty 
wilderness of the Hudson's Bay territory, with the British 
flag displayed at each prow, w^s a sight never to be for- 
gotten. ' ' 


trees." So desolate was the prospect that some 
members of the party turned back, but the 
Thompsons pressed on "for the unknown forest, 
then reaching, unbroken, from Lake Simcoe to 
Lake Huron." To the Nottawasaga river, 
eleven miles, "a road had been chopped and 
logged sixty-six feet wide; beyond the river 
nothing but a bush path existed." 

They toiled on until nightfall, covering a 
distance of eight miles and at a clearing in the 
forest came on a bush tavern, * l a log building of 
a single apartment." "The floor," writes 
Thompson, "was of loose split logs, hewn into 
some approach to evenness with an adze; the 
walls of logs entire, filled in the interstices with 
chips of pine, which, however, did not prevent 
an occasional glimpse of the objects visible out- 
side, and had the advantage, moreover, of ren- 
dering a window unnecessary; the hearth was 
the bare soil, the ceiling slabs of pine wood, the 
chimney a square hole in the roof; the fire was 
literally an entire tree, branches and all, cut into 
four-feet lengths, and heaped up to the height 
of as many feet." As the dancing flames lit 
up the apartment, they revealed "a log bedstead 
in the darkest corner, a small red-framed look- 
ing-glass, a clumsy comb suspended from a nail 
by a string, . . . stools of various sizes and 
heights, on three legs or on four, or mere pieces 
of log sawn short off. ' ' The tavern was kept by 
a Vermonter, named Dudley Root, and his wife, 
"a smart, plump, good-looking little Irish 
woman. ' ' The pair evidently knew how to cater 
for the occasional guests, as the breakfast pro- 
vided for the Thompsons proved, "fine dry 


potatoes, roast wild pigeon, fried pork, cakes, 
butter, eggs, milk, 'China tea,' and chocolate 
which last (declined by the Thompsons) was a 
brown-coloured extract of cherry-tree bark, 
sassafras root, and wild sarsaparilla. " 

On through the forest they trudged looking 
about for a favourable location, and finally 
selected a hard- wood lot in the centre of the 
township of Sunnidale. Here, with the help of 
a hired, expert axe-man, they soon had half an 
acre cleared of its "splendid maples and beeches 


"As the dancing flames lit up the room, they revealed 
a log bedstead in the darkest corner, . . . stools or mere 
pieces of log sawn short off.' " 

which it seemed almost a profanation to 
destroy." In quick order they erected a log 
shanty, twenty-five feet long and eighteen wide, 
"roofed with wooden troughs and 'chinked' 
with slats and moss .... At one end an open 
fire-placej at the other sumptuous beds laid on 
flatted logs, cushioned with soft hemlock twigs, 
redolent of turpentine and health." 



Thompson gives an interesting account of the 
method of clearing the land, and in this connec- 
tion points out that in the Sunnidale district 
some of the young women were almost as expert 
with the axe as the men. One of these, Mary , 
" daughter of an emigrant from the county of 
Galway . . . became in time a 'firstrate' chopper, 
and would yield to none 
of the new settlers in the 
dexterity with which 
she would fell, brush, 
and cut up maple or 
beech." She and her 
elder sister, " neither of 
them older than eigh- 
teen, would start before 
day-break to the nearest 
store, seventeen miles 
off, and return the same 
evening laden each with 
a full sack flung across 
the shoulder, containing 
about a bushel and a half, 
or ninety pounds weight 
of potatoes." One of 
Mary's neighbours a 
young lad, Johnny, a 
son of one of the early 
Scotch settlers in the 
Newcastle district, who 

was about her own age, was a famous axe-man. 
Mary was anxious to try her skill with the 
young Scot and got her brother, Patsy, who was 
Johnny's working-mate, to vacate his place for 
her. She proved herself quite as skillful as 

"She miscalculated her final 
cut and the side nearest to 
Mary springing suddenly out, 
struck" her a blow so severe as 
to destroy life instantaneous 


Johnny, and, it would seem, lost her heart to 
him. The sequel shows to what perils the 
women of Ontario were subjected in pioneer 
days. One day Mary was felling a huge yellow 
birch. As she neared the end of her work, her 
mind seemed to wander from her task and "she 
miscalculated her final cut and the birch, over- 
balancing, split upwards, and the side nearest 
to Mary, springing suddenly out, struck her a 
blow so severe as to destroy life instantaneously 
.... In a decent coffin, contrived after many 
unsuccessful attempts by Johnny and Patsy, 
the unfortunate girl was earned to her grave, 
in the same field which she had assisted to 
clear." Thompson adds: "Many years have 
rolled away since I stood by Mary's fresh-made 
grave, and it may be that Johnny has forgotten 
his first love; but I was told, that no other has 
yet taken the place of her, whom he once hoped 
to make his 'bonny bride/ 

The Thompsons had some heart-breaking 
experiences. "We had," writes Thompson, 
"with infinite labour managed to clear off a 
small patch of ground, which we sowed with 
spring wheat, and watched its growth with most 
intense anxiety until it attained a height of ten 
inches, and began to put forth tender ears .... 
But one day in August, occurred a hailstorm 
such as is seldom experienced in half a century. 
A perfect cataract of ice fell upon our hapless 
wheat crop. Flattened hailstones, measuring 
two and a half inches in diameter and seven and 
a half in circumference, covered the ground 
several inches deep. Every blade of wheat was 


utterly destroyed, and with it all our hopes of 
plenty for that year.'' 

One of the worst pests the early settlers had 
to contend with was the wild pigeons, a bird 
that, so far as is known, is now extinct. These 
swept down on the land in myriads and grain 
and pea fields were stripped clean by them. In 
several other cases in this book these birds have 
been referred to, but Thompson's account of 
them is most interesting. There was a pigeon- 
roost a few miles distant from where he and his 
brothers had settled. To this roost at the proper 
season "men, women, and children went by the 
hundred, some with guns, but the majority with 
baskets, to pick up the countless birds that had 
been disabled by the fall of great branches 
broken off by the weight of their roosting com- 
rades overhead. The women skinned the birds, 
cut off the plump breasts, throwing the remain- 
der away, and packed them in barrels with salt, 
for keeping." 

Thompson points out that these pigeons were 
an important factor in connection with the 
vegetation of these early days. He noticed that 
when land had been burnt over it was almost 
immediately followed by "a spontaneous growth, 
first of fireweed or wild lettuce, and secondly 
by a crop of young cherry trees, so thick as to 
choke one another. At other spots, where pine 
trees had stood for a century, the outcome of 
their destruction by fire was invariably a thick 
growth of raspberries, with poplars of the aspen 
variety." Thompson was not content with 
merely observing this seemingly miraculous 
growth of new vegetation, he investigated the 


matter. "I scooped up," he writes, "a panful 
of black soil from our clearing, washed it, and 
got a small tea-cupful of cherry stones, exactly 
similar to those growing in the forest." He 
naturally concluded that the pigeons were 
responsible for the strange growth of cherry 
and raspberry in the burnt lands. 

Becoming dissatisfied with their Sunnidale lot, 
the Thompsons exchanged it for one in Nottaw- 
asaga in the settlement called the Scotch line, 
where dwelt Campbells, McGillivrays, McDiar- 
mids, etc., very few of whom were able to speak 
a word of English. Their life here was similar 
to that of other settlers whose stories have 
already been told. One incident is worthy of 
record as it shows the primitive condition of 
things in a community only thirty-four miles 
from Barrie. Flora McAlmon, the wife of Mal- 
colm McAlmon, the most popular woman in the 
Scotch line settlement, died in childbirth, largely 
due to the fact that no skilled physician or 
experienced midwife was at hand. Her brother 
came to the Thompsons to borrow pine boards 
to make a coffin. Excepting for some pine they 
had cut down and sawn up, "there was not," 
says Thompson, "a foot of sawn lumber in the 
settlement, and scarcely a hammer or a nail 
either, but what we possessed ourselves. So, 
being very sorry for their affliction, I told them 
they should have the coffin by next morning; 
and I set to work myself, made a tolerably hand- 
some bo% stained in black, of the right shape 
and dimensions, and gave it to them at the 
appointed hour." And in this rude coffin the 
weeping bearers bore the remains of fair Flora 


McAlmon " through tangled brushwood and 
round upturned roots and cradle-holes ... to the 
chosen grave in the wilderness where now, I 
hear, stands a small Presbyterian Church in the 
village of Duntroon." 

On several occasions Samuel Thompson had 
walked to Toronto, a distance of ninety miles. 
In 1834, before leaving Sunnidale, he made his 
first trip, " equipped only with an umbrella and 
a blue bag, . . . containing some articles of 
clothing." The first part of his way was over 
a road strewn with logs over which he had to 
jump every few feet. Rain came on, and as 
night approached he found himself far from any 
human habitation. He returned to "a newly- 
chopped and partially-logged clearing" he had 
passed on the way. Here he found a small log 
hut in which the axe-men, who had been at work, 
had left some fire. He " collected the half -con- 
sumed brands from the still blazing log-heaps, 
to keep some warmth during the night, and then 
lay down on the round logs in the hope of 
wooing sleep." 

"But," he adds, "this was not to be. At 
about nine o'clock there arose in the woods, 
first a sharp snapping bark, answered by a sin- 
gle yelp; then two or three at intervals. Again 
a silence, lasting perhaps five minutes. This 
kept on, the noise increasing in frequency, and 
coming nearer and again nearer, until it became 
impossible to mistake it for aught but the howl- 
ing of wolves. The clearing might be five or six 
acres. Scattered ovor it were partially or 
wholly burnt log-heaps. I knew that wolves 
would not be likely to venture among the fires, 


and that I was practically safe I, however, 

kept up my fire very assiduously, and the evil 
brutes continued their concert of fiendish dis- 
cords . . . for many, many long hours, until the 
glad beams of morning peeped through the 
trees; when the wolves ceased their serenade, 
and I fell fast asleep, with my damp umbrella 
for a pillow." 

When he awoke, he continued his journey to 
Bradford, where he was hospitably entertained 
by Mr. Thomas Drury, and given a letter of 
introduction to a man of whom he "had occasion- 
ally heard in the bush, one William Lyon Mac- 
kenzie." The remainder of his journey was 
"accomplished by stage an old-fashioned con- 
veyance enough, swung on leather straps, and 
subject to tremendous jerks from loose stones 
on the rough road, innocent of Macadam, and 
full of the deepest ruts." 

When the Thompsons left London for Canada, 
they were sanguine "of returning in the course 
of six or seven years, with plenty of money to 
enrich," and perhaps bring back with them, 
their mother and unmarried sisters. In the 
meantime the sisters came to Canada and found 
life on the bush farm totally unsuited to their 
tastes. The brothers, too, were far from satis- 
fied. Their holding promised them only years 
of unremitting toil, with but a small return. 
They saw other opportunities and so disposed 
of their property, Thomas and Isaac moving 
with their sisters to a rented farm at Bradford 
and Samuel going to Toronto, where he was long 
to play an active part in the business and intel- 
lectual life of the community. 



"When I first knew Toronto there were not 
more than two or three brick buildings between 
the market and Yonge Street. There was not 
a building of any kind on the west side of Yonge 
between Queen and Bloor. Yonge Street north 
of Toronto was not then the straight highway 
it is now, but twisted and turned in all direc- 
tions to avoid the hills. About Unionville the 
country was covered with magnificent pine. 
People wondered how they would ever get rid 
of it all, and trees, as straight as a ruler and as 
free from blemish as a race horse, were cut down 
and the logs burned in heaps. Ropes and 
harness were made from home-grown flax, and 
almost every home had its wheel and loom where 
clothing for the family was made. The first 
cooking stove seen in Markham, brought in by 
a Yankee peddler named Fish, did not have an 
oven attachment but only holes in which pots 
could be placed. Bread was baked in pans set 
in coals. A black-ash swamp near Unionville 
was full of wolves. In the evenings bears 
came into the oat fields, and, gathering the heads 
together in their fore paws, feasted in peace on 
the ripening grain." 

All this was given from the personal recol- 
lections of Simon Miller, who was living in 



Unionville in 1898. Through his immediate 
ancestors Mr. Miller was connected with the 
very earliest stages in the history of what is now 
the metropolitan district of which Toronto is 
the centre. One of his most prized possessions 
was a document dated "Navy Hall, 29th of 
April, 1793," signed by J. G. Simcoe, the first 
governor of Upper Canada, and addressed to 
the officer commanding at Niagara. This docu- 
ment was a command to the officer in question 
"to permit Nicholas Miller, Asa Johnson, Jacob 
Phillips, Abraham and Isaac Devins, and Jacob 
Schooner" to bring in free of duty from the 
United States "such goods and effects as house- 
hold furniture, chairs, tables, chests of cloth- 
ing," etc. The Nicholas Miller mentioned in 
this document was the grandfather of Simon, 
and Isaac Devins was the grandfather of 
Simon's wife. 

The original home of the Millers was lot 
thirty-four on the first of Markham, the Yonge 
Street farm later on occupied by David James. 
This and the old John Lyon farm were the first 
two for which patents were issued in Markham. 
The log cabin built on the Miller lot was prob- 
ably the first house erected in Markham, and the 
body of Grandfather Miller, who died in 1810, 
is believed to have been the first buried in the 
old cemetery at Richmond Hill. 

Three of Simon Miller's uncles on his mother's 
side took part in the War of 1812-15. These were 
Kennedys, after whose family the old "Kennedy 
Road" was named. One lost a leg at Queens- 
ton while charging with Brock in an effort to 
recapture the gun taken earlier in the morning 


by the Americans and then turned against the 
British. A Major, of the well known family of 
that name in Pickering, had a piece of flesh 
flicked from his leg by the same discharge. Mr. 
Miller's mother heard the explosion when the 
old fort at York was blown up as the Americans 
entered the town after capturing it, and Mr. 
Miller himself as a lad heard the boom of the 
first gun fired in the skirmish at Montgomery's 
Tavern in 'thirty-seven. 

''After school had been hastily dismissed on 
the latter occasion and 1 was on my way home," 
said Mr. Miller, "I met a company of High- 
landers headed by skirling bagpipes coming out 
of Vaughan, on their way to join Mackenzie, but 
as the latter was already in retreat they were 
too late for the affair. For weeks afterwards 
loads of prisoners passed our door on Yonge 
Street on the way to Toronto to stand trial for 
high treason. Many of those in charge of the 
prisoners had themselves been implicated in the 
rising and took this means of turning aside sus- 
picion from themselves. The worst of the direct 
effects of the rebellion was not the tearing of 
men from their families. It was the feuds, 
lasting for years, which originated at that time. 
Years afterwards, 'you are a rebel' or 'the son 
of a rebel' was the signal for a fight. When 
men gathered at grist-mill or for the annual 
'training day' the whiskey hardly started 
flowing before a fight commenced in some cor- 
ner, and in a short time the row became general. 

"One of the worst consequences of the free- 
dom with which liquor was to be obtained at 
this period," continued Mr. Miller, "was seen 


in the case of the Indians. All the Indians of 
that day from the Lake Simcoe and Georgian 
Bay country came to Toronto once a year to 
receive money and goods, which the Govern- 
ment gave them in return for the surrender of 
their lands. I have seen them coming down 
Yonge Street in twos and threes, magnificent 
specimens of manhood, their head-dresses decor- 
ated with eagle feathers, and carrying war 
spears in their hands. Too often they went back 
in a very different condition. The white man 
knew the Indian's fondness for whiskey, and 
whites waylaid these children of the forest and 
supplied them freely with firewater in exchange 
for the goods the Indians had received from the 
Government. Frequently, by the time the red 
men reached Thornhill on their way home, they 
had neither goods, blankets, nor money, and had 
to beg food for maintenance on the rest of the 
journey northward. Notwithstanding the man- 
ner in whicli they had been robbed, and the fact 
that they were armed, I never heard of a white 
man being killed by them. Eventually, however, 
the scandal became so great that the Govern- 
ment adopted the plan of carrying the annuities 
for the Indians to their reserves and paying 
them there. 

"In 1822, and again in 1823, grandfather and 
father found it necessary to go to Philadelphia 
to look after some property interests that had 
not been disposed of when the family left 
Pennsylvania. Both journeys were made on 
horseback. Three years later a third journey 
was made to the Quaker city, but this time in 
comparative comfort. From Buffalo to New 


York passage was taken by Erie Canal boats, 
and from New York to Philadelphia by ocean 
vessel. When I went to the States in 'forty- 
seven, I took boat from Toronto to Lewiston, 
from Lewiston to the Falls by horse-car with 
the horses driven tandem, and from the Falls to 
Buffalo by a train which ran on wooden rails 
covered with strips of iron." 

Henry Home, for many years postmaster at 
Langstaff, in a pamphlet published in the last 
century, gave some particulars of the difficulties 
encountered in travel at a still later date than 
that mentioned by Mr. Miller. Mr. Home made 
a trip to Toronto in the fall of 'fifty-two by the 
section of the old Northern Railway then open. 
There were no passenger cars on the line. Pas- 
sengers had to stand up, and when the engine 
required water the train was held up while the 
crew dipped the necessary water from open 
ditches beside the track. 

When the Millers and Devins first settled in 
Markham there was no grist-mill anywhere 
within reach and all the flour used in the neigh- 
bourhood was ground in a coffee-mill Grand- 
father Miller had brought with him from Phil- 
adelphia. At a later stage a man named Thorne 
established a hundred-barrel mill and general 
store at the place which bears his name. Big as 
his mill was, it was unable to cope with the trade 
that came to it. "I have seen," said Mr. Miller, 
"a procession of wagons loaded with wheat that 
kept the mill running until ten at night. Thome 
was a kind-hearted man, and many poor settlers 
in Ad jala and Tecumseh were indebted to him 
for the flour necessary to carry them through 


until the following harvest. His end was an 
unhappy one, though. Embarrassed by unfor- 
tunate speculations in wheat he committed 

Burials were simple affairs among the pion- 
eers. In one case the body of a man who had no 
relatives in the country, w r as enclosed in a coffin 
made of slabs split from a basswood tree and 
buried on his own farm. In fact a number of the 
first settlers were interred on the lots taken up 
by them. When the lots afterwards changed 
hands the bodies were in some cases removed. 
In others, agreements were made for the main- 
tenance of the burial plots. But who is to 
enforce such agreements when even the descen- 
dants of the original owners of the property 
are far away? Inevitably the ground made 
sacred by the dust below will come under the 
plow, and some day, when a ditch is being dug or 
a foundation laid, men of a new generation will 
wonder what tragedy was hidden with the bones 
then brought to light." 


When I was a boy "The Queen's Bush" was 
frequently mentioned in conversation in much 
the same way as "The Peace River Country" 
is now. The term was then applied to the 
Huron tract, a territory stretching from about 
Goderich to Georgian Bay, and in which set- 
tlements were just beginning to be formed. 
The territorial description was a moving one, 
however, and was applied generally to any lands 
which were still largely in possession of the 


Crown; and, as lands passed from the Crown 
into the hands of settlers moving west, and still 
further west, the description moved with the 
tide of settlement. 

The story that follows was told to me in 1906 
by John Claughton, who remembered when the 
name of Queen's Bush covered territory as far 
east as the township of Uxbridge. The con- 
ditions under which I fell in with Mr. Claughton 
were in themselves a striking illustration of the 
marvellous change wrought in Ontario in the 
course of one lifetime. I was on my way from 
Barrie to Whitby, driving on that occasion, 
when night found me with a very tired horse, 
near Epsom, in the township of Beach. There 
was not a house of public accommodation within 
miles, and yet Mr. Claughton, who proved the 
Good Samaritan in a time of need, remembered 
when Epsom had two hotels; Prince Albert, 
three; and Utica and Manchester, two each all 
the places named being within a few miles of 
each other. 

"At that time," said Mr. Claughton, " farmers 
from Georgina, Brock, Uxbridge, and Scott all 
teamed their wheat to Whitby or Oshawa. 
When this traffiic was at its height there would 
be a string of teams stretching as far as the eye 
could reach and all moving south. It was 
almost impossible to drive north then because 
of the traffic moving in the opposite direction. 
That was when the old plank road extended 
from Manchester to Whitby. Much of the plank 
for that road was cut in the Paxton mill at Port 
Perry. There were five toll gates on the high- 
way, and the toll for the round trip was three 


York shillings. 1 The wheat taken over it to 
Whitby was shipped to Oswego and thence to 
England. The wheat taken to Oshawa was 
ground in the Gibb's mill." 

Mr. Claughton's memory, and what he had 
heard from his parents, covered a period ante- 
dating even the time of the old plank road. He 
told how the Paxton's, when they first settled 
near the site of the Dryden farm, had to drive 
thirty miles to Toronto for household supplies. 


"When this traffic was at its height there would be a 
string of teams stretching as far as the eye could reach 
and all moving south. ' ' 

"I can remember," he said, "when what was 
practically a solid bush extended all the way 
from Epsom to Port Perry. I have seen mast 
timber, seventy to eighty feet long, taken out 
of Reach, four or five teams being required for 
the hauling. I have seen the best hardwood 

J A York shilling, equivalent to twelve and one half cents, 
was a common unit of calculation in early days. 


sold in Whitby at a dollar a cord. I have seen 
ten acres covered by great bonfires in which the 
best of pine, elm, and maple were burning. 
When, after such prodigal waste, timber began 
to grow scarce in the neighbourhood, people 
went to 'The Queen's Bush' in Uxbridge town- 
ship and helped themselves, there being no one 
there to say them nay. 

''One night, after having left Uxbridge at 
eight o'clock, I heard a pack of wolves howling 
in the Black River swamp. There were many 
wolves in the swamp on the thirteenth of Reach 
and sheep had to be penned up at night for pro- 
tection. A man named Shaw was on his way 
home carrying a heavy Bible he had borrowed 
from a neighbour when he met a bear. He drop- 
ped the Bible and ran, the sacred volume being 
recovered unharmed next day. One Sunday, 
when I was out walking near Epsom, three deer 
suddenly rose up in a small clearing almost in 
front of me. 

"The first threshing-machine used in the 
neighbourhood was one of the old ' pepper-mills.' 
One man raked the straw as it came from the 
cylinder, a second raked it a little further, and 
a third pitched it to one side. If there were 
more than one day's threshing, the grain on 
the floor had to be cleaned up before threshing 
could go on." 

" Where are the pioneers and their descen- 
dants'?" I asked. 

The answer came in something like a wail: 
"Gone, gone gone almost to the last man and 
the last woman. The bodies of the pioneers lie 
in neglected or forgotten cemeteries. Their 


descendants have been scattered as if by the four 
winds of heaven. In many cases even the names 
are forgotten. Of the families living between 
Whitby and Oshawa in the 'forties I do not 
believe one remains to-day. Between Man- 
chester and Whitby it is much the same. 
Only two or three remain between Epsom 
and Manchester." 

Still, although so few of the children or 
grandchildren remain where their families first 
settled, there is occasional evidence of a tie yet 
connecting them with the place where the light 
of day was first seen. One such evidence I found 
near Gamebridge while on this same journey. 
There a school library had been provided by the 
late Andrew Gunn, one of the founders of Gunns 
Limited, in memory of boyhood days spent in 
the bush when his father settled on the east side 
of Lake Simcoe. At Utica, again, I had seen 
" Memory Hall," which had been erected by 
T. W. Home, one of the contractors for the 
building of the King Edward Hotel, Toronto, 
this being Mr. Home's contribution to the 
community life of the section his parents 
had helped to create. 


This story has its beginning in Scotland; 
it touches North Carolina, and has its closing 
scenes in the township of Eldon. It begins with 
the eighteenth year of the past century, and 
almost the whole period is covered by a life that 
had not, when the story was told in 1910, run 
its course. Colin McFadyen, believed to be the 


oldest resident then in Eldon, at that time 
in his ninetieth year, but still bright of eye 
and with none of the ashen hue of age, gave 
the particulars. 

Shortly after the end of the Napoleonic wars 
times were desperately hard in the old land and 
men began to turn their eyes in the direction of 
the New World, where people were fewer and 
opportunities greater. Among those who looked 
abroad were Mr. McFadyen's father and some 
of his friends. They finally determined to start 
for Wilmington, Delaware, where an acquain- 
tance was already engaged in the woollen 

"It was no palace steamer in which father and 
his friends arranged to make the journey/' said 
Mr. McPadyen. "It was an old sailing ship 
that had years before been condemned as unfit 
for the carrying of passengers. Our people did 
not know this at the time, and gladly paid the 
seven or eight pounds per head demanded for 
their passage to America. The vessel, although 
very old, was a fairly good sailer. Once during 
the voyage another craft was seen to be follow- 
ing. Fearing that she might be a pirate, the 
captain put on full sail and the possible enemy 
was left 'hull down/ The old vessel proved 
more seaworthy than was expected, as she was 
able shortly afterwards to ride in safety through 
a West Indian hurricane. 

"At length Wilmington was reached, but the 
place did not suit the people, and they deter- 
mined to go on to North Carolina, and it was 
there that I was born. Eventually they tired of 
Carolina. Although my uncle held slaves, my 


father objected strongly to the system, and he 
objected also to taking the oath of allegiance to 
the United States, as he was being constantly 
urged to do. Attention was thus naturally 
directed towards Canada and one of the party 
was sent to spy out the land. The investigation 
proved satisfactory and, in 1828, a party consist- 
ing of my father (Archie McFadyen), Archie 
McMillan, Colin Campbell, and their families 
determined to set out for the north. 


"The journey from Carolina to Hogg's Hollow, where we 
first located, occupied seven weeks, and on only two nights 
did we have the shelter of a roof. ' ' 

"It was a genuine trek. The whole distance 
was covered in wagons, the men and boys walk- 
ing alongside the rude vehicles. I walked every 
foot of the way myself, although then only nine 
years old. The journey from Carolina to 
Hogg's Hollow, where we first located, occupied 
seven weeks, and on only two nights did we have 
the shelter of a roof. One of these two nights 
we spent in a vacant house. Where did we 


sleep the other nights? On the ground, with a 
blanket beneath and the blue sky above. If 
it looked like rain we crawled under the wagons, 
which were covered with canvas. One of my 
brothers was born on the way that occurred 
in Virginia but this was allowed to delay us 
for only one day. 

"Yes, the road was none too smooth," Mr. 
McFadyen went on. "We climbed mountains, 
up the face of which the horses could barely 
haul their loads. In going down the other 
side the men had to apply brakes to prevent the 
wagons from running on top of the animals. We 
crossed rivers, sometimes over bridges, but fre- 
quently at fords. In many cases bridge tolls 
were levied not only on teams, but on pedes- 
trians as well. In order to reduce the charges 
we sent the wagons over the bridges, while the 
men and women in the party crossed on the 
backs of horses as these swam the streams. 

"We crossed the Niagara River at Black 
Rock, the crossing being made in a ferry worked 
by horses with treadmill power. When we 
reached the Humber River, six miles out from 
Little York, as Toronto was then called, we 
found the bridge gone, and we had to wade the 
stream. While crossing the water came into the 
boxes of the wagons, and in going up the 
opposite bank it seemed at times as if the horses 
would fall back on top of the vehicles." 

The party finally reached Hogg's Hollow and 
settled there for a year. Then they set out for 
their permanent home in the township of Eldon. 
This was the worst of the whole journey. Once, 
when they struck a cedar swamp, the wagons 



sank to the axles and a whole day was spent in 
going four miles. The horses were barely able 
to pull the wagons through the slime, and the 
men had to carry the luggage on their shoulders. 
The wagons could not be taken beyond Uxbridge, 
the rest of the way to lot seven on the first of 
Eldon being a blazed trail. All told, five days 
were spent in making a journey that an auto- 
mobile would cover now in less than two hours of 
a summer afternoon. 

" There was not a tree cut on the place when 
we arrived," said Mr. McFadyen as he pro- 


Deeded to tell of conditions in the new home, 
"but in three days we had a cabin built. It was 
of course made of logs, with the spaces between 
the logs filled with moss and the roof made of 
split basswood. As we had no feed left we had 
to get rid of the horses, and father traded one 
for a steer and twelve bushels of wheat. He 
borrowed a yoke of oxen to bring the wheat 
home. This was ground into flour between two 


grindstones that were made to revolve with a 
crank turned by hand. The wheat was poured 
by hand through a hole in the tipper stone. 
Between dark and bedtime enough would be 
ground to provide for the next day's needs. 
Later on we thought we were well off when we 
got a coffee-mill to do the grinding. 

"It was hard enough to get along in the early 
days. Potatoes and corn were our chief reliance, 
and the only ready money was earned by sailing 
on the lakes. We found work enough at home, 
however, cutting down trees in winter, split- 
ting rails and fencing in spring, and burning 
fallows in summer. The last was hard work. 
I was my father's principal helper, and we had 
to keep moving the burning logs closer and 
closer together while the heat of fire and sun 
combined caused the perspiration to pour from 
us in streams. 

"It was a lawless time, too, in the early days. 
Dougall Carmichael, my mother's brother, came 
out to us in 1832. He walked from Sutton by 
the road, after having his goods landed at 
Beaverton. When he went to Beaverton to 
secure the goods, some men there began shoot- 
ing and my uncle, fearing for his life, fled. 
Returning later he found a chest broken into and 
sixty sovereigns and some clothing stolen. 
Years afterwards, when I was returning from 
Mount Albert, where I had been with a load of 
grain, a man told me he knew of the robbery 
and that the robber had buried the gold under 
his hearthstone near Beaverton. 

4 'Another time when I was driving to Toronto 
with a load of grain I had with me a couple of wolf 


skins, which a man in Toronto had agreed to 
buy. I had stopped at Markham to feed the horses. 
That was in the days of the 'Markham gang' 
and Markham had a bad name. Consequently 
while waiting in the hotel until my horses were 
through feeding, I kept my eye on my sleigh. 
But a cutter drove up alongside as I watched, 
my skins were whisked into it and the rig was 
out of sight before I could pursue. ' ' 

This reference to the wolf skins naturally 
brought up hunting stories, and once Mr. 
McFadyen got started on this line the stories 
came thick and fast. 

"When father killed the steer we had secured 
in exchange for one of our horses, he found it 
necessary to go to a neighbour's for salt with 
which to cure the meat. When on his way 
back, and in the middle of the 'big swamp' of 
Thorah, there was a sudden and terrific howling 
from a pack of wolves a howling that seemed to 
make the woods fairly tremble. Father dropped 
the salt and ran back to the neighbour's, where 
he stayed all night. When he returned to the 
place where he had dropped the bag, he found 
the ground tramped up as if a herd of cattle had 
passed by. There must have been a large num- 
ber of wolves in that pack. 

"The wolves were particularly destructive on 
domestic animals. A three-year-old steer belong- 
ing to the McMillans was pulled down in a 
swampy place, and all of the animal eaten except 
the portion under water. No less than eighteen 
sheep belonging to us were killed in one night. 

"In order to check the marauders I bought 
a trap and caught one wolf with it. I set it 


again, but the next wolf carried the trap away 
with him. I followed the trail with a dog, but 
could get no trace of either wolf or trap. I then 
secured another trap, fastened it with a trace- 
chain, and in this I captured a number of the 
beasts. Generally a wolf was badly cowed by 
being caught and I could dispatch the brute with 
an axe; but one fellow that I found soon after 
the trap teeth had been sprung on him was very 
fierce, and I had to stand at a safe distance and 
shoot him with a rifle. Finally one big wolf 
actually smashed the trace-chain and got away 
with the second trap. I followed the trail until 
I could see the bushes shake in which the brute 
had hidden. I fired at the spot, and then, when 
I saw the bushes move a little further on, aimed 
at that point and fired again. Everything then 
seemed quiet and I got down on my knees and 
peered under the bushes. The wolf was lying 
there all right, but I fired another shot to make 
sure, and then brought him out. We received a 
bounty of six dollars for each wolf killed, but 
one dollar had to be paid a magistrate for the 
certificate on which payment was made. The 
hides were of no value if taken in summer, but 
there was always sale for a good winter pelt." 
Mr. McFadyen's adventures were not confined 
to wolves. Many a bear also fell before his rifle. 
Once, he treed a bear in a big elm and with 
the first shot put a bullet through the animal's 
heart. On another occasion he wounded a bear, 
and, as it was getting dark, he was unable to 
follow the trail. Next morning the hunt was 
resumed and bruin was seen seated by a punky 
log and using the powdered fibre as a salve for 


his wound. "It seemed almost cruel to kill the 
animal under such circumstances," said Mr. 
McFadyen in describing the adventure to a 
friend. "But when the excitement of the chase 
was on, and I remembered the havoc wrought 
by the black-coated enemy, I did not stop to 
think of this, and a second shot finished 
the business." 

Sometimes the hunter found himself hunted. 
One Sunday, as Mr. McFadyen was on his way 
to church, he saw a bear and two cubs in the 
oat field. The old bear ran off and Mr. Mc- 
Fadyen tried to catch one of the cubs, but he 
was glad to abandon the effort when he found 
mother bruin after him. On another occasion 
Colin McLachlin, a neighbour, shot and wounded 
a bear. When he endeavoured to dispatch the 
animal with an axe, the bear knocked the axe 
to one side and grabbed McLachlin 's thigh. A 
brother, who fortunately happened to be present, 
then seized the axe and killed the bear with a 
stroke. But even in death the animal held on, 
and it was necessary to pry the brute's jaws 
apart before the thigh on which they had fas- 
tened could be released. 

A little thing like lacerated flesh did not count 
in those days. People were inured to pain and 
all were qualified to render first aid to the 
wounded. Once, when a neighbour's head had 
been laid open with an axe, Mr. McFadyen him- 
self sheared away the hair and patched up the 

On another occasion a settler was so badly 
frozen that a number of his fingers had to be 
amputated. A doctor from Newmarket was 


called in to perform the operation. The charge 
was forty dollars. Later on it was found that 
sufficient had not been taken off the little finger, 
but it was considered hardly worth while 
to risk having to pay another forty dollars 
for a trifle like that. Accordingly a neighbour 
sharpened a jack-knife and a chisel; with a few 
deft cuts the flesh was laid open with the knife, 
turned back with the fingers, and then, with one 
stroke of a hammer on the chisel, the protruding 
bone was cut off with neatness and dispatch. 
The skin was next put back in place and home- 
made salves did the rest. 

Mr. McFadyen's stories of hunting adventures 
did not all have the scene laid in the wilds of 
Eldon and Thorah. When he was living in North 
Carolina, great black snakes, not poisonous, 
played havoc with the family's flock of chickens. 
One night his sister heard a commotion in the 
poultry yard and on going out found a snake 
in possession of a chicken and in the act of 
climbing a tree with the prey. Miss McFadyen 
seized a pitch pine torch, and with this burned 
the snake so badly that it dropped the fowl and 
wriggled up the tree. Next morning the snake 
was still in the tree. 

At another time the mother of the family 
went to the meat-house for a piece of meat. As 
she was in the act of looking up, a rattlesnake 
struck at her foot. There was no fainting, not 
even a shriek; instead there was a quick motion 
of the hand, the rattler was seized by the tail, 
a motion as in " cracking" a whip followed, and 
next a very much surprised rattler lay on the 
ground with its back broken. 



* ' There were seven of us, father, mother, four 
boys and one girl, when we moved into Thorah 
in "1831," said Alex. McDougall. "It was Sep- 
tember when we arrived, and the chill of autumn 
was already in the air. There was not a tree 
cut on the place, outside of the small space 
covered by a little shanty in which we were to 
lodge, and it was too late to produce food to 
carry us over the winter. In order to provide 
for his family I was then a lad of fourteen 
father took jobs threshing grain with a flail. 
His pay was in wheat, and the nearest point at 
which wheat could be ground into flour was at 
Newmarket, We boys, in the meantime, were 
busy with our axes, and by spring we had 
chopped fifteen acres of bush. 

"Some of neighbours were worse off than 
ourselves. One man, with nine children, was 
forced to carry all the grain he used that first 
winter to Newmarket on his back, and to carry 
the flour back in the same way. He was kept 
going and coming all winter, because no sooner 
had he carried in one load of flour than he had 
to start back for another. 

"Even after we had begun to produce a sur- 
plus of grain on our place it was still hard 
enough for us to live. All of the first crops 
were cut with the sickle and threshed with a 
flail. The grain was cleaned by throwing it up 
in the air from a sheet, The surplus wheat was 
sold at fifty cents per bushel, but sometimes it 
was so rusted that we could not sell it at all. A 
little later on Beaverton traffic was diverted 


from the Newmarket route towards Wliitby, and 
our wheat was sold at Manchester at the end 
of the old sixteen-mile plank road leading north 
from Whitby. In order to make the journey 
in one day with a team it was necessary to start 
at four o'clock in the morning, and even then 
we did not reach Manchester until dark. The 
return journey was not made until next day. 
I have seen sixty teams in Manchester over 
night, There was plenty of stable room for the 
horses, but the men had to sleep two or three 
in a bed and, in some cases, on the floor of the 
bar or sitting-room. Frequently good wheat, 
marketed at such cost in hard labour, was sold 
at sixty cents per bushel. Grain of poorer 
quality, or not so well cleaned, sold for less. 

"Everything in the way of supplies was 
scarce in the early days. I have known people to 
drive up here from Cannington to get straw with 
which to carry their stock over until the cattle 
could get out and browse in the woods. Still 
there was no actual suffering from want of food. 
If one had a little surplus, those who were 
short were always welcome to share in the 
bounty. Then the woods were filled with deer, 
and Indians brought us fish from the lake, 
which they exchanged with us for flour and pork. 

"One of the great privations at the begin- 
ning was in the long intervals between regular 
religious observances. I remember when we 
were crossing the ocean, William Hunter, who 
afterwards settled in Chingacousy, came to our 
quarters and had prayers with us every night 
and morning. After we arrived at our new home 
the first regular services were held by the Rev. 


Mr. McMurchy, who came over from Eldon 
township for the purpose. John Gunn, father of 
the founders of Gunn's Limited, was a volunteer 
helper. He made a regular practice of reading 
Scriptures and praying with the old people of 
the settlement, who, owing to growing infirm- 
ities, were unable to attend the regular church 
services that were held. Daniel Cameron was 
another who helped in this same way." 

"When church services were held, people 
travelled as much as thirty miles to take part/' 
said Angus McDougall, the son of the speaker. 
"I have known them, even in my time, to come 
in lumber-wagons from as far as Sutton on the 
south, Uptergrove on the north, and Woodville 
on the west to the old stone church at Beaverton. 
Their earnestness was shown not only in the 
distance they travelled but in the patience with 
which they sat through services lasting from 
eleven o'clock till four, while their simple faith 
and devout thankfulness were voiced in the 
Psalms which filled the old church with a stern 
melody. Duncan Gillespie was the precentor. 
He read the Psalms line by line, and then led 
the congregation as they sang in praise and 
thanksgiving. The favourite Psalms were the 
one hundred and third and one hundred and 
twenty-third : 

'Bless, O my soul, the Lord thy God 

And not forgetful be, 
Of all the gracious benefits 

He hath bestowed on thee. 
Who with abundance of good things 

Doth satisfy thy mouth 


So that even as the eagle's age 
Renewed is thy youth.' 

Those who had not met him outside of his 
Toronto home would never have dreamed that 
Donald Gunn, one of the first members of the firm 
that is now Gunn's Limited, had gone through an 
experience little different from that of Mr. 
McDougall. Straight and active as a man of 
thirty, when nearly seventy, and with the calm 
of one upon whom care had never rested, he was 
far from looking the part of a pioneer who had 
borne the burden of the old-time harvest and the 
fierce heat of the logging bee that preceded it. 
Still there were few men who had a larger part 
in the trials and privations of the days that are 
gone. The John Gunn, referred to by Mr. 
McDougall, was his father, and Donald was one 
of nine sons whose axes cleared the old home- 
stead that now forms the basis of Dunrobin farm 
north of Beaverton. 

Day after day he swung the cradle, leaving 
four or five acres of levelled grain to show for 
his day's work. In the beginning he did more 
than this. He put in ten hours a day cradling on 
the farm of Colonel Cameron, and did the cut- 
ting at home in the early morning and late even- 
ing. In all this he was well aided by another 
member of the family Dr. Gunn, famous all 
over the Huron tract for his skill as a surgeon. 

"The flail had pretty well gone out before my 
time," said Mr. Gunn, "and the sickle was a 
thing of the past. But I have teamed a good 
many hundred bushels of grain to Manchester 
or Whitby that had been cut with a cradle. 




When we teamed all the way to Whitby, our 
practice was to make Manchester the first stage 
of the journey, and then double up the load there 
and let one team take it the rest of the way. 
The start from home was made at midnight, and 
Manchester was usually reached at daybreak. 
Fifty-five bushels was a load, and we frequently 
sold, for fifty or sixty cents per bushel, wheat 
that had been cut with a cradle and hauled all 
the way to market. I have seen as many as 
seventy of these grain teams at Manchester in 
a day, and a dozen men have frequently had to 
sleep on the floor in a room fifteen by fifteen. 
Manchester, which you might go through now 
almost without knowing it, was then the greatest 
grain market in Canada. Mr. Currie, father-in- 
law of Colonel Paterson, K.C., was one of the 
principal buyers; the father of Dr. Warren of 
Whitby was another; and Adam Gordon, who 
owned the farm afterwards belonging to 'Bay- 
side' Smith, and now part of the hospital site 
on the lake shore at Whitby, was a third. Mr. 
Perry was amongst the later buyers. Drinking 
was as common there as it was at other places 
in Ontario at the time, and few of those 
who marketed the grain, at such a cost in labour 
and for so little in return, went home sober. 

1 'I generally managed to have a load both 
ways," went on Mr. Gunn. "On my way back 
I picked up a cargo of oats, pork, etc., and 
brought it to our home in Thorah, on the way 
to the lumber camps in Magnetewan. The start 
from home for the lumber camps was usually 
made at four o'clock in the morning, in the midst 
of intense darkness, and with the thermometer 


not infrequently ranging around thirty below 
zero. I always carried shovels, because it was 
often necessary to dig through snow five feet 
deep in order to allow teams, met on the road, to 
get past. No, I never felt cold. I wore mocas- 
sins, and a plaid over the chest, and always 
walked when going up hill. These trips occu- 
pied three days going and three days returning." 

"I remember another kind of experience in 
the deep snow of the early days," put in Mrs. 
Gunn, who had been listening to the story of 
hardships in which she shared. "It was shortly 
after we were married. We had gone down to 
Stormont on a visit to my old home. A great 
storm came up while we were there, and Mr. 
Gunn decided to leave me with my friends a 
while longer, but to start for home himself. He 
left at nine in the morning, and after plowing 
through the snow for a mile, managed to get 
back to where I was stopping at two in the after- 
noon, and had to remain there for a fortnight 
before the road was opened up." 

"As there were nine of us on the home place, 
and it was only a hundred acre farm, we had to 
engage in a lot of outside work in order to make 
money to keep things going," Mr. Gunn went 
on. "I made a heap of money with a team of 
horses taken into the lumber camps to skid logs 
in winter. After doing this I have come home in 
March and helped to cut down twelve or thirteen 
acres of bush before spring. Before the railway 
came through here I teamed store goods to 
Beaverton from Belle Ewart across Lake Simcoe 
on the ice, the goods having been carried as 
far as Belle Ewart by the old Northern. The 


first time we went to Toronto from here, we 
went by the old Emily May to Belle Ewart, and 
from there by rail." 

Of Mr. Gunn's father and his work, I heard 
more from Mr. Gunn's old neighbours than from 
himself. Mr. Gunn, the elder, was not only a 
minister to the spiritual wants of the people 
in the days spoken of, but he cured the bodily 
ills of the" afflicted as well. Although not a phy- 
sician he had an extensive knowledge of med- 
icine, possessed a rare skill in simple sur- 


gery, and cared for the sick and suffering over 
an area of twenty-five miles. 

He was, too, the first man to put an end to the 
use of liquor at logging bees. It was the prac- 
tice at all loggings of that time to divide the 
fallow off in sections, and for each gang engaged 
in the work to try to get its section finished first. 
The whiskey pail was always at hand to keep 
the workers keyed up to the highest pitch. One 
day on the Gunn farm, while a particularly 


keen race was on between the rival gangs, 
a man shoved a log from his section to that of 
the rival gang, and was caught at it. The blood 
of all the gangs, hot with the race and still fur- 
ther heated with the liquor, was at the boiling 
point already and the attempted cheating started 
a fight on the spot. Mr. Gunn, then in his prime, 
jumped between the fighters, and holding each 
at the end of a powerful arm shook both 
into submission. Then, mounting on a log-heap, 
he gave all the men a quiet talk, and declared 
his intention of never again allowing liquor at a 
logging on his place. He kept his word, and by 
so doing helped not a little in the spread of tem- 
perance reform over the whole neighbourhood. 
On the Gunn farm there is a little "city of the 
dead," that dates even farther back than does 
that which lies under the shadow of the old stone 
church. In this older place of burial lie repre- 
sentatives of another people, who spoke another 
language. It is the resting place of Indians who 
had gone to the happy hunting grounds before 
the white man came. The graves are located 
along the banks of an old water-course, and are 
shaded by the cedar, elm, and balsam, which line 
one side of the driveway leading to the family 
residence. A great balsam marks the head of 
a grave in which rests a chief's daughter to 
whom the call came in girlhood's prime. Many 
years ago, before the Indians of the Lake Simcoe 
reserve were converted to Christianity, mem- 
bers of the tribe made regular pilgrimages to 
the place for the purpose of engaging in pagan 
rites in the presence of the dead. Later on, 
when the homes of the white men began to dot 


the country the Indians ceased to visit the place. 
It was at that time a low, swampy neighbour- 
hood, and before it was cleared up there fre- 
quently appeared before the gaze of alarmed 
settlers a fitful phosphorescent glow dancing 
over decayed logs. The belief was spread that it 
was the spirits of departed red men looking for 
the mourning relatives who came no more. But, 
with the clearing of the land, the uneasy spirits 
of the woods disappeared, and now the dead 
lie silent and still while the night wind sighs 
in the swaying tops of the evergreens above. 
There they lie: 

"Unknown and unnoticed. 
Daily the tides of life go ebbing and flowing 

beside them; 
Thousands of throbbing hearts where theirs 

are at rest and forever, 
Thousands of aching brains, w r here theirs 

have ceased from their labours, 
Thousands of weary feet, where theirs have 

completed the journey." 

Here and there over nearly the whole of 
Ontario, the pioneers found traces of Indian 
occupation before the coming of the white man, 
Few localities had a richer store of reminders of 
a passing race than the township of Nottawa- 
saga. When the Mad River covered the present 
site of Creemore and deer licks existed on the 
Currie farm near that village, this township was 
a favourite fishing and hunting ground for the 
Indians. On the Melville farm on the fourth 
concession, a plow one day struck a soft place 


in the ground and search revealed a collection 
of parched corn, and cakes burned hard as 
bricks. On almost every farm in the township 
tomahawks or Indian pipes have been plowed 
up. Regular Indian burying grounds were 
located on the town line of Nottawasaga and 
Sunnidale, and on the second and fourth of the 
former township. In these graveyards were 
found masses of bones, together with kettles, 
beads, and weapons. One of the strangest finds 
was in the Indian graveyard on the second con- 
cession of Nottawasaga, consisting of a number 
of sabres, tied together, which apparently had 
never been used. A pioneer took three of these 
sabres to serve as a trap for deer that had been 
feeding on his oat crop. He set the sabres point 
upwards, covered with light brush as a screen, 
at a place where the deer had been jumping 
into the field. Next morning an animal was 
found impaled, but unfortunately it was the best 
horse on the farm. It is said that another of 
these old sabres, which doubtless came from 
France, served for years as guard for the portals 
of an Orange lodge. It was surely a strange fate 
which caused this sword, probably blessed by a 
Jesuit priest for service in the hands of a sol- 
dier of Catholic Prance, to become a prized pos- 
session of a lodge devoted to the perpetuation 
of the memory of King William. 


At the beginning of June, 1899, one of the 
pioneers of the Islay settlement on the east side 
of Lake Simcoe was still in the flesh in the per- 


son of John Merry. At that time all the lots 
between one and five on the seventh of Eldon, 
save one, were in possession of direct descen- 
dants of the men who had settled on them 
sixty years before, at a time when the country 
for miles around was solid bush. Of the toil 
endured by the pioneers on the last stage of the 
journey to their destined home in Eldon I was 
told by Donald McArthur, a son of one of the 
original settlers. 

''From Toronto to Holland Landing teams 
were employed in carrying the belongings of our 
people," said Mr. McArthur. "But the people 


themselves walked every step of the way, the 
horses having all they could do to haul the 
freight over the great hills and across hollows 
where the mud was nearly knee deep. At every 
hill, indeed, teams had to be doubled up. From 
'The Landing* to Beaverton open boats were 
used. It was after Beaverton was left behind 
that the greatest toil was experienced. For 
fifteen miles through the bush there was nothing 
but an Indian trail, and over that distance our 


people carried their bedding and other belong- 
ings on their backs. 

" Quick work was done, when the locations 
on which our people proposed to make their 
homes were finally reached. Rude shanties were 
put up on one day and equally rude fireplaces 
were constructed outside for cooking. Next day 
stone fireplaces were built inside and the smoke 
from these was allowed to escape through a hole 
in the roof, no chimneys being yet in place. The 
'chinking' of the log walls was not completed 
until the approach of winter made this im- 

''When the first grain crop was harvested, 
the nearest place at which it could be ground 
was the old 'Red Mill' at Holland Landing, and 
the grain sent there had to be 'packed' as far 
as Beaverton. The settlers generally went in 
couples, each man carrying a bushel of wheat 
on his back. On the return journey the carriers 
depended for food on bread made on the way 
from the flour they carried with them. 

"Wolves were a great source of worry and 
loss. One morning my mother turned our sheep 
out of the pen at daybreak and a belated wolf 
destroyed six of them before the flock could be 
rounded up. The brutes even attacked the 
cattle at times, but they made little by such 
attacks when a number of cattle were together. 
In these cases the cattle formed a circle with 
cows and calves in the centre, the oxen with 
lowered heads forming the outer ci rcle. Against 
that defence wolves attacked in vain. 

"The first Presbyterian minister in the sec- 
tion was the Rev. Mr. McMurchy, and by him 


most of the children were baptised. Later on 
these same children formed new unions under 
his benediction. The usual practice in connec- 
tion with weddings was to have banns published 
on three successive Sundays, and on the Wednes- 
day following the last announcement the wed- 
ding would take place. All weddings were real 
community affairs. The women of the settle- 
ment went the day before to bake and assist the 
bride. On the evening following the ceremony 
the fiddler mounted his bench, and from before 
sunset until the sun rose again flying feet kept 
time to the music. ' ' 


From James St. John, who was nearly ninety 
years of age and still with intellect wholly 
unimpaired when I interviewed him in the 
township of Brock in 1900, information was 
obtained concerning the annual township meet- 
ings of the early days. 

"When it came to the making of laws," began 
Mr. St. John, "the general practice was for some 
one to propose a rough outline of what was 
desired. This was reduced to writing by a 
magistrate present, who afterwards mounted 
a wood-pile and read the formal document which 
was then submitted for ratification by the assem- 
bly. One of the first of the local laws in Brock 
provided that fowl, which continued to trespass 
after warning had been given to the owner, 
might be shot by the party on whose land the 
trespass occurred. When this measure was 



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being read for the approval of the meeting 
someone asked what was to be done with the 
carcasses of the fowl shot. 

" 'Eat them,' I said from a side bench. 

" 'Eat them,' repeated the magistrate as if 
reading from the formal document. 

"At once there was a rush for the wood-pile 
on which the magistrate was standing, and the 
wood, the reader, and the crowd were thrown 
into one tumbled mass. But it was all done in 
good nature, and was merely one of the ways in 
which animal spirits expressed themselves at 
these annual meetings." 

Mr. St. John also told a story of an old-time 
parliamentary election that reads, in some 
respects, like a news item of U. F. O. activity 
of the present time. 

"We had," he said, "been electing lawyers 
year after year and found that these hardly 
noticed us after election day was over. In order 
to devise means of changing all this we held a 
meeting in our township and decided, by almost 
unanimous vote, that we would elect a farmer 
in the then pending election. Two candidates 
were in the field, Hartman, a Reformer and far- 
mer, and Scobie, a Conservative and lawyer. The 
latter was a very clever talker and succeeded in 
persuading all of those who had attended the 
meeting, except myself, to go back on the 
decision reached and to support him. Notwith- 
standing the defection of Brock, however, 
Hartman was elected, and he proved one of the 
best representatives who ever sat for the 

"Polling in that election took place at New- 


market and continued over two days. During 
that time both candidates kept open house. No 
strong liquor was supplied, but beer was as free 
as water. Still, notwithstanding the abundance 
of liquor and the excitement of the election, I 
did not see a single fight during the contest." 

Telling of an incident of another kind, Mr. St. 
John said: kt Indians were numerous all over the 
Lake Simcoe district, and in early spring eight 
or ten camps were formed by these on my 
father's farm while the squaws engaged in 
basket-making. The Indians were all ardent 
'Queen's Men' and would not hear a word 
spoken derogatory of Victoria the Good, who had 
then recently ascended the throne. One of the 
settlers, McMaster by name, for a joke, made 
some slighting remarks about royalty in the 
presence of a group of these Indians, and they 
threatened to kill him. Taking refuge in our 
house, he got me to hide him under a pile of 
straw in the sleigh and drive him past the 
Indian camp to his home. When driving 
past the camp an Indian jumped on the sleigh 
for a ride and sat down on the straw, not 
knowing McMaster was underneath. When 
McMaster at last got out near his own door, 
after the Indian had disappeared, he said 
he had been almost smothered under the straw. 
But he was cured; he never tried another joke 
with the Indians." 

When Mr. St. John entered Brock with his 
father, in 1821, there were only three other set- 
tlers in the township. Mr. St.. John was then 
twelve years of age, and from that time until his 
ninetieth year he worked almost continuously. 


Part of his labours consisted of chopping the 
bush from three hundred acres with his 
own hands. 

Speaking of the early struggles, Mr. St. John 
continued: "We worked hard, and for limited 
rewards, but never suffered want. My first crop 
of fall wheat had just nicely headed out when 
a foot of snow fell. Fortunately there was no 
frost and the wheat afterwards yielded an aver- 
age of forty bushels per acre. I cut that crop 
with a reaping-hook, threshed it with a flail, 
cleaned the grain with a borrowed fanning-mill, 
and hauled it to Stouffville with oxen. And 
what do you think I got for the grain on 
delivery? Three York shillings a bushel, with 
half of that in store pay, and I had to wait three 
months for the 'cash' half of it! 

'The very next year, however, the price of 
wheat went to two dollars and a half per bushel. 
Afterwards it sagged to between one and two 
dollars and then, when the Russian War came, 
it rose above two dollars and a half. One 
winter, when wheat was quoted at about a dollar 
a bushel, I arranged to market the twelve hun- 
dred bushels that I held from the previous 
season's crop. After hauling out one load one 
of my horses broke a leg while playing in the 
yard and I was not able to resume marketing 
before the following June. The loss of the horse, 
in the end, proved a most fortunate accident as, 
when I did sell my wheat, the price was one 
dollar and eighty-five cents. 

"These occasional high prices, and the uncer- 
tainty of them, were really a most unfortunate 
thing for the country. Farmers assumed 


obligations in order to buy more land for wheat 
growing, and this sent land prices up to spec- 
ulative levels. I could have sold our farm then 
for one hundred dollars an acre, whereas, after 
prices dropped, I could hardly have secured sixty 
dollars, although in the meantime the farm had 
been greatly improved. The worst effects, how- 
ever, were felt by merchants, many of whom 
went mad in grain speculation. One of the 
heaviest plungers was a man named Laing, in 
Whitby. I have seen him come from the bank 
with a stack of bills as big as a hand satchel, 
and this would not last him over three hours 
while his buying ventures were at their height. 
When wheat dropped to seventy-five cents, he 
failed and many failed with him. 

"In the period I speak of (this was before rail- 
ways were built in Ontario, Victoria, and Peter- 
boro Counties) Whitby was one of the greatest 
grain markets in the country. Wheat from all 
around the east side of Lake Simcoe was teamed 
there. The work of teaming was facilitated by 
the improvement of the road from Brechin to 
Manchester with the county's share of the Clergy 
Reserve Fund, and the building of the plank 
toll road from Manchester to Whitby. When 
that plank road was at its best a team could 
haul from one hundred to one hundred and forty 
bushels of wheat at a load, but the hard surface 
proved as injurious to the feet and legs of 
horses as concrete pavement does now. At that 
time as many as fifty teams might be seen in a 
string along the old Centre Road; at Manchester 
fully two hundred teams were assembled at one 
time; and at Whitby sleighs extended for a mile 



from the harbour front up into the town. Many a 
good horse was fatally chilled while waiting on 
the ice for the unloading of the grain hauled. 

"It was the opening of the main line of the 
Grand Trunk, combined with the existence of 
an excellent harbour, that made Whitby in the 
'fifties and 'sixties the market for all the 
country tapped by roads leading to the north. I 
well remember the day when the line was opened. 
It seemed as if the whole surrounding country 
emptied itself into Whitby on that occasion. 


Every hotel and there were then six in the 
town and three at the harbour was filled to 
overflowing, and the streets were lined with 
empty wagons and buggies whose owners were 
off to Toronto on the excursion of their lives. 

"At a still earlier date than this, when the 
country was first being settled, wolves were 
numerous in the ravines about Sunderland. One 
day I heard some of these after our sheep. 


Without waiting to get my gun I rushed to the 
defence of the flock and jumped on the back of 
a wolf I found attacking a fine ewe. The brute 
was so surprised that he ran for the bush with- 
out waiting to see what had dropped on him. 
The ewe was somewhat mauled, but I doctored 
her with turpentine and not many days after- 
wards she gave birth to a pair of fine lambs. 
After I had released this ewe from the wolf, I 
went at a second of the marauders, which was 
attacking another of the flock, and beat him off 
with a fence rail. I was a little too late in this 
case and the second sheep died of her injuries." 

Nor were animals the only victims to be 
attacked by wolves. R. L. Huggard, when 
living in Whitby, told me that James Lytle was 
once treed by wolves near Kendal in Durham 
County. " After climbing the tree," said Mr. 
Huggard, "Mr. Lytle broke branches and, using 
these as clubs, tried to drive the wolves away, 
but when the animals snapped at his feet he was 
glad to climb back to safety and remain on his 
perch until the besiegers disappeared with day- 
break. When at last Lytle, almost frozen, did 
get down he found the snow around the base of 
the tree packed as hard as a sleigh track. 

"More fortunate was a man named Morrison 
who lived near Uxbridge in the early days. 
This Morrison was a famous fiddler and his ser- 
vices were in great demand at the winter 
dances. Frequently, after the dancers had gone 
he tramped home alone. One winter night, as 
he was trudging along with his fiddle tucked 
under his arm, he was surprised by a pack of 
wolves. A roofless old shack was near at hand, 



and up to the peak of the rafters scrambled 
Morrison. Whether from a sense of humour or 
not I do not know, but, as the <-old increased, 
Morrison bethought himself of playing a tune 
for the howling pack below. So he took his fid- 
dle from his case and struck up a lively tune, 
when, to his utter astonishment away scampered 
the brutes at topmost speed into the bush. He 
had many a laugh afterwards as he thought of 
himself on that cold still night beneath the 
bright winter stars fid- 
dling away from his 
lofty perch. Uncon- 
sciously he had stum- 
bled upon what has 
become a well estab- 
lished fact that wolves 
are terrified by the 
strains of a violin. He 
never wanted for pro- 
tection against wolves 
when on his lonely night 
tramps after that." 

It may very well be 
added here, in connec- 
tion with reference to 
township meetings, that 
Colborne was one of the 
first townships to be municipally organized in 
the Huron Tract, convenience of access to the 
port of Goderich having facilitated early settle- 
ment there. In the last June of the past cen- 
tury, thanks to the courtesy of Henry Morris, 
of Loyal, I had the privilege of going over the 
first records of Colborne 's municipal govern- 



inent. These records began with the fourth of 
January, 1836, whn the pioneers of the town- 
ship met at the Crown and Anchor Hotel kept 
by the father of Mr. Morris in the then village 
of Gairbraid, to start the municipal machine. 
The meeting was held in accordance with "the 
terms of Statute V, William IV, Chapter 8." 
Under the terms of that statute, the annual 
township meeting held at the beginning of the 
year not only elected commissioners, as the 
township councillors were then called, but the 
several township officers, from clerk to fence- 
viewers, as well. 

Election troubles of a kind for which Huron 
has since been famous began early in the 
county's history. At this first township meeting 
in Colborne, J. C. Tims and John McClean were 
candidates for the clerkship, and Daniel Lizars, 
who was in the chair, declared the latter elected. 
Thereupon three of the votes cast in this elec- 
tion were objected to and a scrutiny called for, 
the final result being that McClean was declared 
to have a majority of two. Even this did not 
end the matter, because later on proceedings 
were taken against one of those present for 
having voted " contrary to the terms of the 
statute in that case made and provided," and in 
due course a tea-pot belonging to the offender 
was seized to satisfy the law's demands, the 
said tea-pot being held until one of the com- 
missioners put up security for the fine imposed. 
Troubles over the clerkship, having once begun, 
continued intermittently for a couple of years. 
McClean resigned the day after the meeting at 
which he had been elected, and the township 


commissioners appointed his rival Tims to fill 
the vacancy. On October 25th following, Tims 
resigned in turn, and James Forrest London 
was appointed. London served until April 25th 
following, and then he, too, resigned, and A. R. 
Christie was made clerk. 

The annual township meeting of the 'thirties 
of the last century did more than elect a local 
government and officials. It also made laws for 
the governance of the municipality. At the 
first township meeting for Colborne, one of the 
laws passed declared that "bulls and stallions 
shall not be free commoners," and that "stray 
dogs found at large should be liable to be 
impounded." A "legal fence" was defined as 
one six and a half feet high with not more 
than four inches space between the rails for the 
first two feet, and that for the next two feet the 
space should not be above five inches. At the 
third annual meeting, held in 1838, one of 
the laws passed in public meeting assembled 
declared that cattle of "the habit and repute 
of being breachy" should not be permitted to 
run at large. 

Shortly after the township government was 
organized, a commissioner complained of the 
blocking of certain roads through trees having 
fallen across the same. One of the cases of 
which complaint was made was that wherein a 
"large maple" had fallen from lot one, con- 
cession three. Two other complaints were also 
lodged concerning trees which had fallen from 
lands belonging to the Canada Company. In 
all cases complained of the owners of the land 
were called upon to remove the obstructions. 


The Canada Company, through Thomas 
Mercer Jones, claimed non-liability. The statute 
of the day, it appears, attached liability only to 
" enclosed lands," and as the Canada Company's 
lands were not " enclosed," and, in fact, had no 
improvements on them, exemption was claimed. 
Thus the actual settler, who was living on and 
making more valuable the hundred acres held 
by him, was liable for trees falling from his 
place blocking the highway. A great corpor- 
ation, that held thousands of acres which were 
being made more valuable by the labour of 
others, claimed exemption from the same liabil- 
ity because its property was not enclosed. It is 
not surprising that the Canada Company was 
even more unpopular in the early days of 
Western Ontario than some other corporations 
operating have been since then. 

The Crown and Anchor Hotel in which Col- 
borne 's first municipal government was formed 
disappeared long since. The village of Gairbraid 
itself, like many other hamlets of pioneer times, 
has also disappeared, and for about half a cen- 
tury a one-time scene of bustling activity has 
been part of a plowed field. 


Some fragmentary references have already 
been made to "The Summerless Year" of 1816. 
But the real story of that season of want and 
nightmare was related to me by Benjamin D. 
Waldbrook, whom I interviewed near Oakville 
in the first year of the present century. Mr. 
Waldbrook 's father came to Canada in 1817, 
when memories of the event were still fresh, and 
Ids own recollections went back to the beginning 
of the third decade of the last century. 

"The spring of 1816," Mr. Waldbrook said, 
"opened with as fair prospects as have ever 
appeared at the same season since. But the 
sunshine of the year's morn was followed by a 
long night of black despair. Snow commenced 
falling in June, and until spring came again the 
whole country was continuously covered by a 
wintry blanket. Practically nothing was gath- 
ered in the way of a crop. Everything rotted 
in the ground. There was no flour, there were 
no vegetables; people lived for twelve months 
on fish and meat venison, porcupine, and 
ground-hog being varied with the thin meat of 
cattle slaughtered because there was no 
vegetation to sustain them. Hay was sent from 
Ireland to save the stock of the starving people 
of Quebec; and some brought here sold for forty- 



five dollars per ton. Even when father came in 
the following year, flour was seventy dollars per 
barrel at Quebec, potatoes were a penny a pound, 
and the country was full of stories of the horrors 
endured during the winter of a year's duration. 

" Happily the year 1817 was as prolific as the 
year before had been barren. Happily, too, 
there was a considerable migration in 1817 from 
Nova Scotia, which had escaped an affliction 
that appears to have been confined to Ontario, 
Quebec, and the Eastern States. The new- 
comers from Nova Scotia brought with them 
potatoes, that provided seed not only for them- 
selves but for neighbours in Ontario who were 
without seed. These potatoes had a blue point 
and our Ontario people gave them the name of 
' blue-noses/ From the potatoes the name 
passed to Nova Scotians themselves. I am told 
that the people of Nova Scotia do not like the 
title. They should be proud of it. The name 
recalls the time when help from that province 
by the sea proved the salvation of sorely 
stricken Ontario. 

"Even I have been witness of afflictions little 
less grievous than those of the 'summerless 
year,' continued Mr. Waldbrook. "About 
1833, army worms came in countless millions. 
They literally covered the ground and trees were 
left bare of foliage as in mid-winter. At the 
doors of houses they swarmed like bees at the 
entrance to a hive. 

"About the same time a deluge of frogs fell 
upon the land. In the blazing heat of noonday 
sun these rotted and filled the air with poison- 
ous vapors. For a time this province was 


cursed with a West Indian climate; cholera 
developed, and people died by hundreds. 

"Some ten years before this, and prior to the 
time covered by my recollection, I have been 
told that a tornado swept over a section half a 
mile wide about Milton. The tornado was pre- 
ceded by a roar like that produced by an 
unbroken roll of thunder and the earth itself 
seemed to quiver as with a convulsion. Cattle, 
warned by instinct, rushed from the woods to 
clearings and crouched close to the ground. The 
storm broke with an indescribable fury; logs 
were whirled from the ground like straws and in 
a moment the air was filled with flying debris 
and dust. A neighbour, Kennedy by name, had 
three hundred bushels of ashes in a bin ready 
to haul to an ashery. Ashes and bin wholly 
disappeared together and went off in the 
common wreckage. 

"There was one humorous episode during the 
storm, which narrowly escaped being a tragedy. 
A young woman, named Eliza Harrison, was 
hanging out a washing as the storm broke. The 
next thing her mother saw was Eliza and the 
line of clothes whirling in the air above the 
tree-tops amid a cloud of branches and dust. 
Strange to say the girl landed in a field several 
hundred yards away, very little hurt. Eliza was 
the pioneer in aerial navigation in America." 

Mr. Waldbrook told a couple of bear stories 
typical of the times. " In 1829, "he said, ' ' when 
ray father was passing along King Street, 
Toronto, a bear came out of the woods north of 
where St. James' Cathedral now stands. Near 
Weston a man named Elliott was attacked by 


another bear, and in the struggle Elliott choked 
the bear to death by forcing his fist down the 
brute 's throat. Elliott 's arm was so badly lacer- 
ated that it had to be amputated, Dr. Widmer, 
whose name was honourably connected with the 
early hospital history of Toronto, performing the 

In Mr. Waldbrook's youth a large part of 
Halton was covered with magnificent white oak 
and the marketing of this timber gave the 
pioneers of the county their first start. The 
timber was cut into ten and five foot lengths and 
split with beetles and wedges into slabs vary- 
ing from two to five inches in thickness. In 
spring the slabs were floated down the river 
to Oakville and shipped thence to England, 
where they were again split with saws in readi- 
ness to be sent to the West Indies to make 
hogsheads for the sugar trade. " Robert Sul- 
livan," said Mr. Waldbrook, "was one of the 
chief operators in the Halton woods. He was 
given the name of 'White Oak Sullivan' and 
in turn he gave Oakville its name. 

" While men were piloting the staves down 
the stream, they spent the night in shanties by 
the side of the river, and every night was a 
carouse. During one such carouse a member 
of the party was seen to be sitting quietly, 
taking no part in the proceedings. Next morn- 
ing when the other men, even yet partially 
stupefied by liquor, got up, the silent one was 
still there, but little notice was taken of him. 
When, however, the men observed that he did 
not follow them down to the bank, they went 
back and found him stone dead. It was supposed 


that a blow given during the night's carousal 
had killed him, but the body was quietly buried 
and there was no inquiry. 

" Another tragedy was connected with a 
survey party. A stranger joined the party one 
day, and next evening when the cook was 
cutting wood to prepare supper the axe glanced 
and sheared the stranger's head clear from his 
body. As no one knew anything about the man, 
the body was buried in the woods and thus the 
incident closed. 

"Another tragedy of early days in Halton was 
connected with a one-time thriving village' of 
which nothing remains to-day. The village was 
located where Dundas Road crosses the six- 
teenth. At one time the village contained a 
distillery, brewery, saw-mill, store, and tannery. 
The decline of the place began when the prin- 
cipal owner, a man named Chalmers, while under 
the influence of liquor, signed a cheque for ten 
thousand dollars, and, in remorse for his act, 
committed suicide. 

"Oakville was an Indian reserve until 1827. 
Although the place got its start from the stave 
trade, the boom came when the Russian war 
raised the price of wheat. Farmers from as far 
off as Garafraxa brought their grain here then, 
and I have seen fifty or sixty teams waiting 
at one time to unload. 

" During that period new barns were erected 
everywhere, and, as saw-mills would not pay 
over twenty-five cents for the two first logs 
from a pine tree, the best of timber went into 
these. Barn-raisings were community events 
and whiskey was in abundant supply. I have 



seen half-tipsy men swarming all over the skel- 
eton structures, but never saw a serious accident. 
At these raisings, the barns were christened like 
a ship at a launching, but whiskey instead of 
wine was used at the ceremony. Once, at a 
raising near Ancaster, I saw a man, bottle in 
hand, run up the peak where two rafters joined. 
There, balancing on one foot, he sang out : 

" It is a good framing 
And shall get a good naming. 
What shall the naming bet" 

' ' Barn-raisings were community events. ' ' 

"When the prearranged name was shouted 
back the man on the rafters so declared it as 
he cast the bottle to the ground. Was the 
bottle broken? No, indeed! As it contained the 
best liquor supplied at the raising, care was 
taken to see that it fell on soft ground, and the 
moment it fell it was surrounded by a crowd of 

men, still thirsty despite the liberal libations 
already supplied." 

Mr. Waldbrook, in dealing with conditions 
existing prior to 1837 said: "In our section 
people paid from a dollar and a half per quarter 
to six dollars per year, for each child sent to 
school. Their ordinary land tax amounted to 
twelve dollars per year in addition to this. That 
does not seem a great deal to-day, but it was 
a very heavy burden for men, starting on bush 
farms, who sold their wheat for three York shil- 
lings a bushel and dressed beef at a dollar and a 
half per hundred-weight. What made the situa- 
tion more irksome still was the fact that the Can- 
ada Company was holding unimproved lands, on 
which no taxes at all were paid, at eight to 
twelve dollars per acre. When Martin Switzer 
of Churchville went to Toronto to pay his taxes 
to Treasurer Powell of the Home District, he 
entered complaint against these conditions. 
He figured up the tax paid in his own town- 
ship and said that he could not see what 
the people were getting in return, since they 
were left without bridges even, save such as 
they built for themselves. 

" 'I think' said Switzer, 'some of this money 
must be misappropriated in Toronto/ 

" 'Look here, my man,' Powell insolently 
responded, 'your business is to pay taxes. It 
is for the gentlemen here in Toronto to say how 
they shall be spent, and if I hear any more such 
seditious language from you I shall have you 
put in York jail.' 

Switzer spread the story on his return home, 
and anger, savage enough before, was fanned 


into a white heat. It is no wonder that the 
people rose in arms. They would have been less 
than men if they had tamely submitted to the 
insolence and incompetence of office to which 
they were being daily subjected. 

Mr. Waldbrook told me that he knew the 
names of those who had sheltered Mackenzie in 
his flight through Halton after the affair of 
Montgomery's Tavern, and that he even knew 
the woman who gave the leader her dress for 
disguise. But, despite my gentle pressing near- 
ly seventy years after the event, a request for 
names was refused. 


Few men witnessed more varying stages of 
the pioneer period than did Abraliam Campbell, 
whom I met at lot twenty-eight on the first 
concession of Chingacousy in July, 1899. Mr. 
Campbell spent his life on the farm on which he 
was born when Chingacous.y was the farthest 
settlement north of the lake. As a child and 
youth he saw other pioneers pass his door on 
their way to the virgin forests of Dufferin, Grey, 
and Bruce. He was witness of the annual 
summer pilgrimage of the men from the newer 
lands of the north to the older settlements of 
the south in search of employment in which they 
might earn bread for the winter. As the forests 
of the northland were pushed back before the 
attack of the axe-men, he viewed the winter 
procession of teams by which the grain of the 
north country was hauled toward lake ports. 
To all this Mr. Campbell was able to add what 


his father had told him of days prior to the 
period covered by his own recollection, the 
period when even the Niagara district was 
young. His father as a youth was at Queens- 
ton Heights, Stoney Creek, and Lundy's Lane, 
and one of the most prized possessions of the 
Campbell homestead, when I was there in 1899, 
was an iron pot, eighteen inches in diameter, 
captured from the American forces at Stoney 
Creek, and still doing duty in the Campbell 
homestead over eighty years later. 

Mr. Campbell's father and six brothers took 
up one thousand acres in Chingacousy about 
1820, after having journeyed from the old 
family home in Lincoln County by an ox-team. 
From Cooksville to their locations, the way led 
over a road made through the bush with their 
own axes. A quarter of a century later 
Campbell's Cross, on the highway connecting 
north and south, was a scene of bustling life. 

" There was a tavern there containing 
eighteen rooms," said Mr. Campbell, "and in 
those rooms I have known twenty or thirty 
people to be accommodated over night. As late 
as two o'clock in the morning I have seen the 
bar-room so full of people that one could not 
get near the bar itself. There were three stores 
in the village at that time, and they were all 
busy places. Whence did the business come? 
Largely from the north country, which by that 
time had begun to produce a surplus. I have 
seen as many as one hundred teams arrive with 
grain in a single day. Part of the grain was 
bought by local merchants and teamed by them 
to Port Credit for shipment by water. Some of 


the farmers hauled their own grain all the way 
to the lake port. 

" Teaming this grain was real labour. Between 
Chingacousy and the north, hauling was possible 
only in winter, and even then twenty-five to 
thirty bushels made a load. In coming down 
the Caledon mountain it was necessary to put 
a drag on the sleighs. Those who did their own 
teaming to Toronto or Port Credit frequently 
used ox-teams and sleighs to Campbell's Cross 
and then borrowed wagons for the journey to 
Toronto. On some of these journeys the snow 
was up to the backs of the oxen when north of 
the Caledon mountain, while south of our place 
the animals wallowed to their bellies in slush 
and mud. Some of these northern farmers came 
from as far back as Owen Sound with grass seed, 
venison, and pork for sale, the round trip 
occupying well over a week. At times the 
nights were spent in the bush while sleet or 
rain beat in through the partial covering 
afforded by the forest. But the people were 
happy with it all. Return cargoes usually con- 
sisted of groceries and a half -barrel of whiskey, 
and as long as the latter kept the interior warm, 
exterior cold did not matter much to the hardy 
men of that day. 

"At the period covered by my earliest recol- 
lection bears and wolves were common in 
Chingacousy. I have more than once seen cows 
come home with flanks and udders so badly 
torn that the animals had to be killed. During 
the 'thirties, 'forties, and 'fifties, the father of 
Kenneth Chisholm, who for years represented 
Peel in the Legislature, made staves from the 


oaks that theii covered a good deal of the 
township. The staves were hauled to the 
Credit by oxen, floated down the stream to the 
Port, and thence shipped to England. About 
I860, while I was assisting in removing an old 
oak stump, we unearthed a tool that had been 
used in splitting staves. 

"One of my earliest election recollections is 
connected with the contest in which Colonel 
Ed. Thompson defeated William Lyon Mac- 
kenzie in the year before the Rebellion. That 
was the most exciting electoral battle we ever 
had. The electors of Caledon, Chingacousy, and 
Toronto townships all went to Streetsville to 
vote. The polls remained open for a week or 
two and for most of that time my father was 
engaged in hauling Tories to the voting place. 
On the last day of polling five or six teams were 
massed and, headed by bagpipes, took the last 
of the voters to the poll. 

"When the Rebellion came, it was real civil 
war, one neighbour watching another. From the 
shelter of a hedge father and I saw a dozen 
of Mackenzie's supporters passing in twos at 
night. The Government's supporters marched 
in daylight. There were no actual conflicts in 
this neighbourhood between the rival factions, 
but fighting was narrowly averted on some occa- 
sions. Captain Sinclair had a party of Macken- 
zie's partisans in his home at Cheltenham, when 
they were surprised and taken prisoners by a 
company under command of my father. Most of 
the arms of Sinclair's men were stacked in the 
middle of the room, and one of my brothers 
rushed in and grabbed these before the 


other party knew what was happening. Not- 
withstanding the surprise and loss of part of 
the arms, it required a good deal of persuasion 
to induce those who still retained weapons to 
give them up." 

The excitement attendant upon Mackenzie's 
last contest before the Rebellion was paralleled 
by an election that took place in Peel about 
1848. In this election George Wright and 
Colonel William Thompson split the Tory vote 
and Honourable Joseph Morrison (afterwards 
appointed a judge) slipped in between them. 
Bars were not closed on polling day then and 
whiskey flowed as freely as the waters of the 
Credit. Single fights occurred every few min- 
utes while the battle at the polls was on. Some- 
times these single fights developed into con- 
flicts between factions, and when this happened 
men quit using their fists and started for the 
most convenient bush to cut clubs. One of the 
most serious of these rows took place at Caledon 
just before the polls closed. James Thompson 
was deputy returning officer and Mr. Campbell 
was poll clerk. When the place got too hot for 
the officials, they grabbed the poll books (it was 
open voting then) and bolted. A howling mob 
followed them for half a mile, but the deputy 
and poll clerk at length found refuge in Philip 
Chamber's tavern at lot nine, concession one, 
Caledon, and there they declared the poll duly 
and legally closed. 

Robert W. Brock, whom I met at Belfountain 
about the same time that 1 had the interview 
with Mr. Campbell, gave some further inform- 
ation of early days in Peel and Dufferin. 

"At the time of my earliest recollections," Mr. 
Brock said, "the Centre Road had displaced the 
first concession of Chingacousy as the leading 
highway to the north. In the late 'sixties, I 
have seen that road black with teams, and traffic 
going on day and night. This continued until 
the old narrow gauge T. GK & B. was built to 
Owen Sound and markets were opened at 
Orangeville, Shelburne, and Dimdalk. Then the 
glory of Churchville and Streetsville began 
to wane. 

"Many years before the opening of the rail- 
way, a man named Frank had a grist-mill at 
Belfountain and people from as far north as 
Meaford and Owen Sound brought their grists 
to the mill on jumpers or home-made sleighs 
hauled by oxen. Much of the way was over 
a blazed trail and the journey could be made 
only in summer, the roads being impassable in 
winter. My wife's brother, Samuel Eagle, was 
then living near Bayview, about nine miles from 
Meaford. He frequently walked to his father's 
place at Belfountain, spending three or four 
days on the road and sleeping at night in pine 
thickets with a fire at his feet to frighten away 
wild animals. From Belfountain his father 
drove him to Toronto to purchase groceries, and 
these my brother packed on his back from 
Belfountain to Bayview. Eagle's nearest neigh- 
bour at that time was three and a half miles 
and the next seven miles distant. 

"After a time one of the Bayview settlers 
secured a coffee-mill and neighbours came from 
miles around to use this in grinding their wheat. 
That was tedious work. I have heard Eagle 


say he would sooner chop all day in the bush 
than grind half a bushel of wheat in the old 
coffee-mill. In the course of time Eagle pur- 
chased an ox, fitted it with Dutch harness, and 
used this to haul his grists to Belfountain. At 
last an enterprising man arranged to erect a 
mill at Bayview, and the whole neighbourhood 
turned out to assist in the erection. Despite my 
brother-in-law's early poverty, he left an estate 
of forty-thousand dollars when he died at eighty. 
And notwithstanding his early hardships, his 
doctor said that he would have lived for a cen- 
tury had death not come as the result of 
an accident." 

A third story was supplied by Peter Spiers, 
of Mayfield, with Peter's maternal grandfather, 
John Bleakley, as the central figure in the tale. 
Mr. Bleakley was with Sir John Moore at 
Corunna, and with Wellington at Salamanca. 
Like a number of other old Peninsular and 
Waterloo veterans, Bleakley came to Canada 
when his fighting days were over, and he was 
one of the first settlers in Chingacousy, locating 
on lot seven on the fifth concession. 

"When my grandfather settled here," Mr. 
Spiers said, "it was a common thing for settlers 
to get lost in the bush, and to guide the lost ones 
in finding their way out of the forest, my grand- 
father was often asked to sound a call on the 
trumpet he had carried with the Royal Artillery 
in Spain. At a later date he used his trumpet 
for another purpose. When taking a load of 
chickens, butter, and garden truck to Toronto he 
would carry his trumpet along, and with this he 
would sound the i assemble' on nearing the old 


fort where a British garrison was then main- 
tained. The soldiers, thinking that it was their 
own trumpeter, would rush to the parade ground. 
Catching sight of the wagon they would shout : 
'Oh, it is our old friend Jack!' and the load of 
provisions was soon disposed of to them." 


' ' And then the frost came. ' ' To understand 
even partially the meaning conveyed in these 
words one must have a clear mental picture of 
the surroundings when the calamity occurred. 

The time spoken of was three-quarters of a 
century ago. A young couple James Buchanan 
and his wife had established themselves on the 
fringe of the swamp which then extended up 
through Amaranth and Luther. Their home 
was a cabin in the woods. It was all in one 
apartment, barely as large as the dining-room in 
some of the houses you may find in the same sec- 
tion to-day. The walls were of logs, with the 
bark still on, and the spaces between the logs 
were partly filled with moss. The roof was 
made of basswood logs split in half. The floors 
were of split cedar. During the winter the snow 
lay in heaps here and there over the floor 
and even on the bed after a night's storm. 

In the spring, after a winter spent in chopping 
out a clearing, the husband had gone down to 
"the front/' around Brampton or Cooksville, to 
earn money by working for farmers whose hold- 
ings were fairly well cleared, leaving the wife 
at home to plant and hoe the potatoes and see 
that cattle were kept out of the little patch of 


wheat growing amid the blackened stumps of 
the previous year's clearing. The grain had 
almost reached the ripening stage; there was 
every promise of an abundant supply of bread 
at least for another year 

"And then the frost came." 

What that meant only those who have been 
through the experience know. The wheat could 
not be sold; it was useless for bread, and there 
were no hogs available to turn it into bacon. 
The bears would have destroyed the pigs if any 
had been there. 

"Did that occur in more than one season?" 

The question was put to Mrs. Buchanan. 

"In more than one year? The same thing 
went on for years, and years, and years," the 
voice ending almost in a wail as memories of the 
bitter days came back in a flood. 

"Not only was our own wheat ruined," said 
Mr. Buchanan, as he took up the thread of the 
story, "but the calamity extended over a wide 
neighbourhood. I have paid from money 
earned by toiling in the fields of Peel two dol- 
lars a bushel for wheat which, when ground, 
would not make bread that was fit to eat." 

"And when we had bread we had nothing else 
in the way of food," continued his wife. "For 
a whole year the first settlers lived on bread 
without butter, and tea without milk or sugar. 
We had cows, but, when I was left alone, they 
wandered off in the bush and went dry. Hens we 
brought in again and again, but the foxes took 
them before we got any eggs. 

"It was not so much the deprivation that hurt 
as the shame of our poverty when strangers came 

our way. One day, during the time conditions 
were such as I have described, I was at the wash- 
tub when three men, who were hunting, called. 
One of them said that if they had dinner they 
could go on hunting until night. I thought it was 
a pretty broad hint, but I kept on washing and 
never let on, as I was ashamed to ask them to 
share such fare as we could offer. Then they 
came into the house, and once again said that if 
they had anything to eat with them they would 
not go back. But I said nothing, and at last they 
went away. I was sorry then that I had not 
offered them such as we had to give, but at the 
time I simply could not do it for shame's sake." 
Then Mrs. Buchanan proceeded to tell of the 
conditions under which they first moved to their 
forest farm in Amaranth. Their old home was 
down in Lanark. The last part of their journey, 
from Cooksville to Amaranth, was made by stage 
to Orangeville, and from Orangeville to their 
new home, a distance of ten miles, on foot. 
Orangeville was then a mere opening in the 
woods. There were two little stores, ten feet 
wide by eighteen feet deep, and two taverns very 
little larger. From Orangeville to the location 
selected was bush all the way, and Mrs. 
Buchanan had to remain with a brother close a1 
hand. Mr. Buchanan felled the trees out of which 
the cabin was built. Even the floor and the door, 
made of split cedar, were fashioned with an axe, 
and, when Mrs. Buchanan joined her husband on 
the" twenty-first of December, there was two feet 
of snow on the ground. There the first winter 
was spent, the husband toiling during the day 
felling trees, and in the evening husband and 


wife sat together with nothing but the open fire- 
place to give light. 

''When we came in," said she, "we brought 
webs of flannel and fulled cloth with us, and from 
these I made the clothes we wore. I took raw 
wool, carded it, spun it and made mitts and sold 
them, making dollars and dollars in this way. I 
plaited straw hats and sold them, too. When 1 
wanted groceries I had to walk to Orangeville 
for them. Many and many a time have I walked 
that ten miles and back, leaving at nine in the 
morning and returning at three or four in the 
afternoon, without anything to eat in the inter- 
val. Even when we got better off, and had cows 
and oxen, things were hard enough. For butter, 
taken to Orangeville with an ox-team, we never 
got more than a York shilling hi the early days. 

"Fortunately there was little sickness then, 
and for such as occurred simple remedies 
sufficed. Catnip and tansy tea were available 
in every cabin, and for boils we had salve made 
from the ever-ready balm of Gilead. The great- 
est hardship was in the lack of schools and 
churches. For years we were wholly without 
schools, and church services, held at infrequent 
intervals, took place in the homes of settlers. 
Yet with all the periods of loneliness and all the 
scanty fare of the early days, I cannot say we 
were unhappy. There were compensations for 
the hardships. We were young, hope remained 
even amid the disheartening effects due to 
untimely frosts, and we were borne up by the 
fact that we were building a home." 

The reward has come; homes have been 
created; killing frosts are no more; fruitful 


fields are seen where forests were. There are 
schools, roads, churches, and all other improve- 
ments incident to civilization. But do those who 
have come into the inheritance fully appreciate 



' ' Many and many a time have I walked that ten miles and back, 
leaving at nine in the morning and returning at three or four in 
the afternoon, without anything to eat in the interval." 

the patient toil and determined heroism by 
which that heritage was won? Do they realize 
by what privations and suffering the found- 
ations of Old Ontario were laid? 



"It really seemed when we settled down here 
in a hole in the bush, as if we could never make 
a home of it, roads could never be built, and we 
could never experience here even the measure 
of comfort enjoyed in England." 

The speaker was the maternal ancestor of the 
Tuckers of Wellington County and the time 
July, 1899. It was no wonder that there was 
discouragement in the beginning. When the 
Tuckers moved into Wellington the townships 
of Peel, Luther, and Maryborough were solid 
bush. Their journey thence had included boat 
from Toronto to Hamilton, the Brock Road from 
there to Guelph, and through unbroken bush 
from Elora to Bosworth. Brock Road itself 
was but a mud highway, and when the team 
hauling the Tucker belongings stuck on a hill- 
side, neighbours had to be called on to assist in 
pushing the wagon to the top. A wagon was 
used as far as Elora, but after that a jumper 
was all that could be hauled through the bush. 
The Tuckers' first crop was harvested with a 
sickle. At the beginning of the life on the bush 
farm, it cost a dollar a barrel to have flour hauled 
from Elora to Bosworth. 

Equally toilsome were the experiences of the 
Donaldsons at Reading on the borders of 
Dufferin and Wellington Counties. When this 
family moved in about the middle of last cen- 
tury, there was only an odd clearing between 
Reading and Ballinafad, and Oakville, the near- 
est real market, was two days distant. Some 


villages between Reading and Oakville were, 
however, more prosperous then than now. Bal- 
linafad had two hotels and a blacksmith shop; 
Hornby two hotels, two stores, and a smithy; 
and Oakville, where wheat from the north was 
loaded on schooners, was a rival of Toronto 
itself as a shipping port. 


"Old Boston Church," in the Scotch Block 
of Esquesing, may be considered the cradle of 
Canadian liberty. At a time when England was 
in the grip of the reactionary forces developed 
during the Napoleonic wars, when the Family 
Compact ruled in Canada as barons of the old 
world ruled in the Middle Ages, when even in 
the young republic to the south something of 
the old spirit of aristocracy still survived, the 
most advanced principles of the democrac}^ of 
to-day were written into the deed of gift convey- 
ing the site for the church that is the Faneuil 
Hall of Canada. The deed in question was 
granted by John Stewart, the father of The 
Scotch Block. It was made in favour of "The 
United Presbyterian Church, formerly the 
Missionary Synod of Canada, in connection with 
the United Secession Church of Scotland." The 
three first trustees under the deed of gift were 
William Michie, James Hume, and Peter 
McPherson. The instrument under which they 
were appointed provided, however, and here 
the spirit of democracy begins to reveal itself, 
that the trustees should hold office only for a 
specified time and that on the expiration of the 


period the congregation should be free either to 
re-elect the retiring officials or to choose others 
in their stead. The only restriction placed on 
the choice of trustees was that such officers 
-should be members, " members" being defined 
as those "who had been admitted to the Lord's 
table and were on the communion rolls of the 
church." The deed went further than making 
provision for periodical elections; it provided 
also that any trustee could be deposed before 
the expiration of his term, at a meeting called 
for the purpose and on the majority voting yea. 
There you have, written in a church deed a 
century old, the principle set forth in the recall 
plank in the U.F.O. platform of to-day; a feature 
still considered radical by present day political 

Nor did the declaration of the right of the 
people to govern themselves end even here. The 
grant specifically stated that the congregation 
might go so far as to change the form of wor- 
ship in the church on a two-thirds majority 
calling for such change. 

The spirit written into that deed, the clear 
enunciation of the principle of government by 
the people for the people, seems to have entered 
into the minds and hearts of the whole com- 
munity. Certain it is, at least, that nowhere 
in the Upper Canada of that day did the cham- 
pions of responsible government receive stouter 
support than in The Scotch Block; and, when 
hope of securing redress by agitation seemed 
at an end, The Block contributed its quota to 
those who stood ready with Lyou Mackenzie to 
give the final proof of fidelity to a cause held 


more important than life itself. It is not sur- 
prising that a son of the man who gave the site 
for "Old Boston'' was among the prisoners 
confined in Fort William Henry after the col- 
lapse of the rising of 'thirty-seven. Neither is 
it surprising to learn that he was one of a num- 
ber who dug their way out through a wall four 
and a half feet in thickness and, after securing 
a boat, made their way across the St. Lawrence 
to American territory. 

For this story of The Scotch Block I had to 
depend, in the main, on the instrument convey- 
ing the site on which Boston Church stands and 
on the records carved in moss-grown headstones 
surrounding the sacred edifice. This is because 
the story was not written until 1918, a century 
after the formation of the settlement, and by 
that time even some of those of the third gen- 
eration were in the "sear, the yellow leaf." 
But the parchment, yellow with age, and the 
lettering carved on granite or marble slabs are 
sufficient of themselves to enable one to form 
a mental picture of the men and women who 
blazed the trail into Esquesing. In every sen- 
tence written on the parchment there breathes 
the spirit of freedom first inhaled amid Scottish 
hills. Every headstone beneath the shelter of 
the church bears testimony to that heart-felt 
affection, ceasing only when life itself ceased, 
for the land of brown heath and shaggy wood 
beyond the sea. 

Over the grave of John Stewart is recorded 
the fact that the father of The Block was born 
in Perth and was descended from the Stewarts 
of Drumcharry, Rossmount, and Duntaulich, 


that he migrated to Canada in 1817, and that he 
died in 1854. 

Other stones mark the last resting-place of 
Isabella, wife of Alex. McQuarrie; Margaret 
Gillies, beloved wife of Duncan Stewart; of 
James Laidlaw and John Anderson. In not 
a single case did I fail to find beneath a name 
of the dead the place of birth in Scotland. 
" Native of Morayshire," "born in Ettrick For- 
est/' " native of Appin," "born in Bradalbine," 
"born in Perthshire, parish of Canmore," were 
among the records noted. 

The Stewarts, McColls, McPhersons, Lyons, 
Gillies, Murrays, Sproats, and others, who 
moved into the wilds of Halton in the second 
decade of the last century, rendered a great 
service in transforming a forest into fruitful 
fields. Infinitely greater was the service per- 
formed in lighting here the torch of liberty, a 
torch which, though growing dim at times, has 
never been wholly extinguished. 


The Treffry family, who settled in Norwich 
township, Oxford County, came from England 
in 1834. There were eleven members in the 
family, and the cost of the journey from Quebec 
to Norwich alone was five hundred dollars. But 
that was only the money cost. What the move 
involved in hardships suffered and inconven- 
iences endured, may be realized in part from a 
review of some of the incidents which occurred 
on the journey. In this case reliance does not 
rest wholly on uncertain memory. John Tref- 
fry, the head of the family, kept a diary 
from the day he left the old home in England 
until the end of the first five years spent in the 
bush of Oxford County, and it was from this 
diary that most of what follows was taken. 

The ocean voyage, and even the passage of 
the rapids of the St. Lawrence in Durham boats, 
similar to experiences narrated by others, need 
not be recounted. But something new is added 
by the Treffry s' experiences on the steamer 
Enterprise, on which they sailed from Bytown, 
now Ottawa, to Kingston. The first adventure 
occurred when the steamer sprang a leak and it 
became necessary to borrow a pump from a 
barge in tow to keep the water under control. 
Two days later the engine broke down and the 



captain took two of the Durham boats, which 
the steamer was also towing, and started for 
Kingston to secure assistance. Meantime those 
on board the steamer ran short of provisions and 
had to make good the deficiency by fishing. 
They even tried to capture a deer which 
appeared on the bank, but failed in the attempt. 
The situation was not made brighter when the 
cook mutinied. Finally the captain returned 
with help and provisions, and the Enterprise was 
able to reach Kingston by the thirteenth of May, 
seven days after leaving Ottawa. 

From Kingston to Toronto the journey con- 
tinued by steamer, but from Toronto to Hamil- 
ton passage was by " smack." Among the 
passengers was the Hon. James Crooks, father 
of Ontario's first Minister of Education. Ham- 
ilton was reached at noon of the second day after 
leaving Toronto. 

From Hamilton Mr. Treffry, one of his sons, 
and a Mr. Stonehouse engaged a driver to carry 
them to Waterloo. At the first night's stop 
the one inn of the place was, in the language 
of the diary, full of "immigrants of all sorts," 
and the three of the Treffry party had to sleep 
in one bed. The driver slept with his horses 
and, the diary records, "fared best of all." At 
Stratford accommodation was still more limited; 
men, women, and children were all sleeping in 
one large room, and Mr. Treffry could hardly 
reach his bed without stepping on them. The 
news heard next morning was even more dis- 
heartening than the lack of accommodation. 
Wheat and oats in the Huron Tract had "all 
been destroyed by frost," Mr. Treffry was told, 


and the landlord had scoured the whole country 
round in a vain effort to secure sufficient hay and 
oats of the former harvest for horses sheltered 
in his stable. Although it was the eleventh of 
June, the diary record states that it "was cold," 
and a man met with stated that for two years 
the crops had all been destroyed by frost. To 
this the landlady added that she had at that 
time planted her garden three times. 

Nevertheless Mr. Treffry decided to locate on 
lot two on the tenth of Norwich, "a Clergy 
Reserve lot abandoned bv a black man. ' It was 


not until the twenty-first of November that an 
oven was built, and the floor of the cabin was 
not laid until December 16th, eight months and 
twelve days after the Treffrys had left England. 
Some idea of the isolation of the family may be 
gathered from the fact that the first letters from 
the old home, written on the nineteenth of June, 
were received on the twenty-first of September. 
The time spent in carrying a letter from Toronto 


to Norwich alone was five days and the cost of 
carrying a letter to New York was two sliillings, 
Halifax currency. There was at this time, no 
uniform currency for Canada. 

Everything in use about the new dwelling 
was home-made. The oldest son made a wash- 
tub, wheel-barrow, and bedsteads, while the head 
of the family constructed a wooden harrow. 
Part of the furniture consisted of a chair with 
elbow rests and a table, both being of cherry. 
All of the wood used was cut green out of the 


surrounding bush. On January 29th and 30th, 
1835, the oldest of the Treff ry boys was engaged 
in making boots for "Litle Henry," a younger 
brother, and later in the year the father spent 
part of the time "mending boots." Frequent 
entries of this nature indicate that the shoes of 
the family, as well as furniture and utensils, 
were of home manufacture. 


The first grain grown on the Trefiry farm 
appears to have been threshed by "rushing." 
In orcter to thresh in this way, a pole was placed 
horizontally two feet above the floor of the barn 
or cabin, and then as much wheat as one could 
hold in his hands was beaten over this pole to 
thresh out the grain. One entry in the diary 
relates that Mr. Treffry spent most of a day 
in "rushing" sixty-six sheaves, from which a 
bushel and a half of wheat was obtained. After 
being threshed the grain was put on sheets to 
dry and then sent to a neighbour's to be put 
through a "winno wing-machine," the primitive 
fanning-mill of that day. Fodder corn was 
harvested in a wheel-barrow. The production of 
the grain itself involved equally strenuous and 
unremitting toil. The fences surrounding the 
new clearings were made of green brush, and 
when the brush dried these fences formed a very 
indifferent protection to growing crops. It is 
not surprising, therefore, to find one diary record 
stating that Mr. Treffry spent the whole of one 
night "keeping cattle out of the oats." Crops 
produced at such cost in labour had to be cared 
for, and the diary tells us that the whole of the 
Treffry family got up between two and three 
one morning, when rain threatened, to stack 
sheaves of wheat that had been left lying in the 
field after the previous day's cutting. Natur- 
ally, despite all these labours, there were periods 
of shortage, and on October 5th, 1835, the 
diary states that it had been found necessary 
to borrow "five pounds of flour and four pounds 
of Indian meal, being quite out of bread." 

Winter cold and summer heat brought their 


trials as well. The fall of 1834 set in early, 
before the completion of the Treffry cabin, and 
in the diary we are told that the family "suf- 
fered much from the wind blowing through the 
roof and between the logs. ' ' The other extreme 
was experienced in the previous August when 
the first clearing was being burned. On some 
days not a breath of air stirred. The ther- 
mometer registered one hundred and ten in the 
shade and the heat was made still more unbear- 
able by the fierce fires in the blazing log-heaps. 

The first tragedy of the new household came 
in the second year in connection with burning 
the fallen timber. "Little Henry," a tot of 
three, and the chief sunlight in the home, went 
out to see his father at work "on the burn/' 
Straying too near a pile of blazing brush his 
dress caught fire and in a moment the tiny lad 
was wrapped in flames. The child was seized by 
the father, the blaze extinguished, and the 
quivering body carried to the house, where oil 
and flour were applied to the burns and laud- 
anum administered to ease the pain. Death 
came painlessly at midnight, the little one 
"going off into a sweet sleep." "The trial to 
his parents, brother, and sisters is very great," 
the simple record goes on, "yet we have abun- 
dant reason to be thankful to the Almighty for 
removing him as easily and so soon. Had he 
lived until the following day his distress would 
have been beyond description." 

The Treffrys were friends and many of their 
neighbours were of the same faith. These, all 
came to offer sympathy and assistance. One 
brought a coffin in which to enclose the body; 


others furnished teams for the funeral; four 
neighbours carried the remains to Paulina 
Southwick's. " There," the diary says, "after 
sitting a short time we set off in three wagons to 
the burial ground. Our worthy and kind friend 
Justus Wilson had made the needful prepar- 
ations at the grave. After sitting some time 
at the meeting-house we removed the corpse to 
the ground." 

The diary quoted from contains the names 
of the passengers of the ship BragiUa on which 
the Treffrys sailed from England. There were 
fifty-nine in all and only one of the company 
had been engaged in agricultural pursuits before 
sailing for Canada. Mr. Treffry himself had 
been a merchant in England. The others were 
cabinet-makers, miners, shoemakers, old sol- 
diers, carpenters, and so on. Still there is no 
doubt that the bulk of them settled on the land. 
Certainly the Treffrys did so, and made good in 
their new occupation. The first Tuckers, of 
Wellington County, were weavers in England, 
yet they and their direct descendants made an 
exceedingly creditable record as farmers in a 
county where good farming is the rule. In fact 
comparatively few of those who came from 
England and Scotland between 1820 and 1850 
had been engaged in farming before leaving the 
Old Land, but they and their descendants were 
mainly instrumental in laying the foundations 
of agricultural Ontario. The opportunity is 
open to the idle of our cities, whether newly 
arrived or native born, to emulate the example 
of the heroic men and women of a past gener- 
ation. The opportunity is infinitely greater 


to-day, because those now here have at least 
some knowledge of conditions, which the pion- 
eers had not, and there is no comparison between 
the hardships for beginners of that day and 
beginners of the present. 


"When my father settled in South Dumfries, 
he and his neighbour, Ford, shared a house in 
common. All the lumber used in that house 
father carried on his back for three-quarters of 
a mile. His own lot was eight miles away and, 
after toiling from daylight till dark in building 
a house on his own place, he went to Ford's to 
spend the night. While father and his neighbour 
were preparing homes in the bush, their wives 
were working in Hamilton to earn money with 
which to buy needed supplies. Mother spent 
her money in buying a cow, and the cow's back 
was broken in the woods shortly after being 
brought home. When a sow which father had 
purchased was killed by a bear and the little 
pigs she left behind perished from hunger, it 
seemed as if the accumulation of misfortunes 
was almost too much to be borne. But there 
was a silver lining to the dark clouds which then 
hung overhead. In buying the sow father had 
paid part cash and given a note for the balance. 
When he went to pay the note the holder refused 
to accept another cent, declaring that father had 
already paid more than he had received 
value for." 

The above story, told by Andrew Elliott, well 
known for years in Farmers' Institute work, 


was paralleled by what Mrs. John Shearer, 
mother of another well-known Institute worker, 
related shortly afterwards. 

"When our family first settled near where 
Bright now stands, wolves came regularly to 
drink at a spring on our place," Mrs. Shearer 
said. ' 'I was only eight years old then, but young 
as I w r as, and notwithstanding that wild animals 
were everywhere, I frequently went to Hayville, 
six miles off, to exchange butter and eggs for 
household supplies. My load was a heavy one 
going five or six pounds of butter and as many 
dozen eggs. But as the butter sold for five cents 
in summer and never over ten cents in winter, 
and eggs at the same price per dozen, and as 
all purchased supplies were as dear in propor- 
tion as these commodities were cheap, my 
burden was light enough coming back. 

"The lumber for our house was hauled four- 
teen miles, and father made the shingles by 
hand. When the first settlers went in, the land 
had not been surveyed, and the settlers, besides 
having to pay three dollars per acre for bush 
lots, were compelled by the Government to put 
up two years' rental for their occupancy prio 
to survey. Nor was that all. When the survey 
w r as finally made a number found themselves on 
wrong lots, and this led to much confusion 
and loss. 

"For years, before doctors were available, 
men travelled miles to have wounds, which they 
had received in the bush, drawn together by a 
paste which father was skilled in making. 
Night after night, too, I have held a candle while 
he fashioned coffins for those who died. The 


first burial in Chesterfield cemetery was that of 
a little child of Robert Brown, who afterwards 
moved to Kincardine. No minister was avail- 
able, but the neighbours gathered by the grave- 
side and stood with bared heads beneath the 
overhanging trees, while Father Baird read a 
chapter and Father Scott led in prayer and then 
all joined in singing a Psalm. 

"This w r as not the only case in which the 
pioneers provided their own religious services. 
Every Sabbath day a community prayer meet- 
ing was held in Chesterfield schoolhouse and a 
Sunday school was conducted for parents and 
children alike. Half-yearly visits were paid by 
the Rev. Mr. Ritchie, and during these visits 
marriages were solemnized and the rite of bap- 
tism administered to children. I have seen as 
many as thirty children baptized in one day." 

And the Elliotts and Shearers who saw all 
this who moved into unbroken forests where 
there were no schools, no churches, and but few 
neighbours lived to see the day when from the 
Elliott farm alone the cash sales ran up to throe 
thousand dollars a year, and the value of all farm 
property in Oxford was placed at thirty-two 
millions. With this increase in wealth came the 
blessings of a community life enriched by 
churches, schools, and all the other adjuncts 
of the advanced civilization rural Ontario 
enjoys to-day. 


Each district in Ontario had its own peculiar 
form of hardships in the early days. On the 


extreme west of Lambton, facing on the St. 
Clair River, the superabundance of water was 
one of the chief causes of hardship. The land 
there is little above the level of the lake, and the 
day after a rain the soil has the consistency of 
glue. What it must have been like before roads 



were opened up and graded will be readily 
imagined by any person familiar with the con- 
ditions of the locality to-day. 

Wood was the first money crop in West 
Lambton elm, oak, and walnut logs for the 


mills, and cordwood for the wood-burning 
steamers that took on fuel at the river docks 
on their way up the lakes. 

"I have seen," said W. T. Henry of Sombra, 
"six or seven yoke of oxen engaged in 'snaking' 
one log out of the bush; and even then the 
cattle had all they could do. The sloughs were 
full of water. As the log passed through 
these its head was completely submerged, and 
it required the power of a steam tug to pull 
it along. The men were as hard worked as the 
cattle. Boys of seventeen did the work of grown 
men. When engaged in hauling wood to the 
river docks, three loads, of two and a half or 
three cords each, brought five or six miles, was 
an average day's work. As a lad of seventeen, 
I have unloaded my first load at six o'clock in 
the morning. People to-day have no idea of 
the magnitude of the cordwood business of those 
days. You see those old piles that line the 
river near the shore f * said Mr. Henry pointing 
to the west. "They formed the foundation 
piers of old-time wood docks. These lined the 
river almost as completely as wharves line the 
front of a modern city harbour, and even then 
they didn't afford accommodation for all the 
wood brought out. I have seen the road, lead- 
ing inland from the St. Clair towards Wilkes- 
port, so closely piled up with wood on either 
side that you could hardly get a team through. 
Over one 'of the docks near the outlet of this 
road as much as a million cords of wood must 
have been delivered from first to last." 

James Bowles, reeve of the township, who 
for years had been largely engaged in lumbering 


in that section, supplemented what Mr. Henry 
had said. "In the very early days/' he said, 
"a bushel of potatoes was considered a fair 
price for a fine walnut tree. Even at a compar- 
atively late date, from two and a half to three 
and a half dollars per thousand was considered a 
reasonable price for elm logs. When the figure 
went up to four dollars people thought that they 
were making lots of money. If I had on my home 
hundred acres all the elm timber that has been 
cut from it, the growing trees would be worth 
over fifteen thousand dollars. There must have 
been a million feet cut from the place before I 
secured it." 

Not many years ago Morpeth was and Ridge- 
town was not. To-day Bidgetown is a thriving 
town and Morpeth is almost unknown. The 
changed conditions are in this case wholly due 
to, the influence of that most powerful of all 
factors in regulating commercial conditions 
the railway. The Burys and Springsteins, 
whose homes are near Morpeth, can tell you of 
a time when that thriving little village formed 
one of the great market centres for wheat in 
Western Ontario. At that time there was no 
Bidgetown and very little of Chatham. In fact, 
farmers then teamed grain from the immediate 
vicinity of where the Maple City now stands 
to sell it in Morpeth. It was a common thing 
to see three or four vessels lying at the dock 
on the lake front taking on grain, while a 
stretch of teams a mile and a half long, waiting 
for delivery, extended back along the road. 
And, even as Naples in a day far back had its 
Pompeii, so had Morpeth its suburbs. One of 


these was Antrim. Antrim was right on the 
lake front, with a brick tavern (loved by the 
sailors of that day), as its social centre. To-day 
not a sign of the suburb remains; the hotel has 
disappeared to the last brick, and of the other 
buildings not a trace is to be found. 


Already ten days at sea, twenty-two days 
more to spend on the ocean, a crowded emigrant 
ship, and smallpox on board. That was the 
situation with which Hugh Johnson, one of the 
pioneers of the township of Bosanquet, was 
faced when on his way from the old home in 
Scotland to the wilds of Upper Canada. 

"I was," said Mr. Johnson, " accompanied by 
my father, mother, six brothers, one sister, and 
my own wife and two children, the youngest only 
three months old. We had left Glasgow on June 
18th, 1847, in the ''Euclid of Liverpool/ 
with a full list of emigrants bound for 
Quebec, and it was on the tenth day out that 
the ship's doctor reported that a little girl, who 
had been taken ill was dow r n with smallpox. 
For the next twenty-two days we were, day 
and night, in the presence of one of the greatest 
plagues that has afflicted humanity. The 
situation was not so bad for our party, although 
the sick were on both sides of us, because most 
of our family had been vaccinated; for others 
it was one continuous horror. 

"Bad as it was on board, it became infinitely 
worse when we reached quarantine. On our 
arrival at the dock, ropes were stretched across 


the deck so as to leave a passage in the middle. 
A doctor was stationed on each side of this 
passage and only one person was allowed 
through at a time. All those who showed any 
symptoms of the disease were forced to go into 
quarantine, while others were sent ashore. The 
only exceptions made w T ere in the cases of well 
mothers, who were permitted to accompany 
sick babes. I am an old man now, but not for 
a moment have I forgotten the scene as parents 
left children, brothers were parted from sis- 
ters, or wives and husbands were separated 
not knowing whether they should ever meet 
again. In some cases they never did meet again. 

"But, bad as was our plight, that of the 
emigrants on board a ship from Ireland was 
much worse. This vessel led us up the Gulf, 
and for mile after mile we passed through 
bedding which had been thrown overboard 
from her decks after the people to whom it once 
belonged had died. It was the year of the Irish 
famine. The poor folk on that Irish ship, 
wasted by starvation and fever-stricken when 
they went aboard, died like flies. We were told 
that half of those who left Ireland in that craft 
found a watery grave before the wretched rem- 
nant reached Quebec. 

"Our family escaped illness altogether, and, 
after landing at Quebec, we made a fairly quick 
passage to Hamilton, most of the way by 
steamer. We had relatives in Lobo, who had 
settled there twenty years before, and it was 
our intention to go to them. When we reached 
Hamilton, we were fortunate enough to find a 
couple of wagon teams, that had just come in 


from London, going back light. These we 
engaged for eighteen dollars to take us along. 

"I remember one little incident that occurred 
as we were passing through Paris or Wood- 
stock, I forget which. While waiting there a 
young woman, after surveying us from the door 
of an hotel, said we were the 'best looking lot of 
emigrants she had ever seen.' 

"From London we went out towards Lobo, 
and as we were on the way we met some people 
going toward the town we had just left. We 
looked at them and they looked at us, but 
both parties passed without speaking. It after- 
wards turned out that these were our relatives, 
who were going to London to meet us; but, as 
we had fitted ourselves out with hats purchased 
after our arrival in Canada, they thought that 
we were Canadians. 

"However, we all finally came together in the 
home of our relatives, and there we remained 
for five weeks. That is where we had our first 
experience in a Canadian harvest field; but it 
was nothing very new to us as the cutting was 
all done with old-fashioned reaping-hooks. Even 
the ' cradle' was not in general use at that time. 

"Our spare time was spent in looking for 
land; but this was an idle quest, as all the good 
land near there had been taken up; and so we 
went back to Williamstown, where settlement 
had begun two years before. We found there 
trees cut down but not yet burned up, and the 
whole country had the appearance of being 
stricken with the direst poverty. So drear was 
the spectacle that father expressed the wish 
that he had never seen Canada. Another thing 


that depressed him was the fact that we seemed 
so far inland so completely out of touch with 
the great world outside. We heard of Sarnia 
and the lake on which it fronted, and determined 
to go there. We started on foot through 
Adelaide, and stopped at the Wesley tavern for 
dinner. In the cool of the evening we resumed 
our walk, and near dark we saw a group of 
figures about a great fire in the bush and, with 
pictures of wild Indians and burning at the 
stake in mind, fear filled our hearts. Great was 
our relief when we discovered that the men were 
settlers making potash. 

"We kept on walking, expecting to find some 
house at which we could spend the night; but, 
no house appearing, we at last late in the night 
went into a log barn and made our beds in a 
haymow. We had a gun with us, and I slept 
with that in my arms all night long so that I 
might be ready in case we were attacked by 
bears. But no bears appeared. Indeed, 
although the country about here was practically 
all bush then, I have never seen a wild bear in 
my life, and I have seen but one deer. I suppose 
the presence of an Indian reserve at Kettle 
Point accounted for the scarcity in that section 
in the early days. 

"Next day we started for Warwick and had 
dinner at a tavern then kept by Mrs. Nixon. 
She told us we would find better land on the 
lake shore, and gave us a letter to an old naval 
captain, named Crooks, who was living near 
Errol, on the shore of Lake Huron. While 
following the road we came to a marshy cross- 
ing near where Camlachie is now situated, and 


as there was a cow-path running off to one side 
we determined to follow that, thinking that it 
would take us around the wet place. We soon 
found instead that we were all the time getting 
further and further into the woods, and feared 
that we might lose ourselves and die in the 
wilderness. So we took a course by the sun and 
struck off in a direction that we thought might 
bring us to the road at a point beyond the marsl> 

"At last we came to a house and asked for 
something to eat. The woman who lived there 
said she had no flour but would cook us some 
potatoes. We decided to push on, meantime 
allaying our hunger with berries picked on the 
roadside. At another house we again asked for 
food and once more found that nothing but 
potatoes was to be had. At last we came to the 
lake, and were cheered by the thought that we 
were once more in touch with the great world 
beyond. Soon afterwards we reached Errol, and 
there we had supper. 

11 After supper we asked for Captain Crooks, 
and were told that he lived eight miles further 
up the shore. We started for his place and 
passed a logging bee on the way. It was there 
T first saw oxen at work. When we got to 
Captain Crooks 7 place, the Captain came out and 
asked us who we were. We told him our 
names and said we were looking for land. He 
invited us to stay all night, promising to show us 
land in the morning, and land where there was 
no frost such as they had in Lobo. This sounded 
good to us, and the fact that it lay alongside the 
lake was an additional attraction. We made 
our selection, but had to go to Goderich, where 


there was an office of the Canada Company, to 
complete the purchase, the price of the land 
being four dollars an acre. We put up a house 
that fall. Everybody helped us in getting a 
start; the whole neighbourhood was then like 
one big family. ' ' 

Speaking further of conditions that existed 
in the early days of the settlement Mr. Johnson 
naturally referred to "Joe Little," a Methodist 
missionary, who was one of the characters of 
pioneers times. Little was appointed the first 
tax-collector for the settlement, and when he 
found a settler who could not pay he offered to 
make up the amount himself. 

"He soon found many who could not pay,'' 
said Mr. Johnson, k ' and the result was that when 
he got through collecting, instead of having 
something coining to him, he was in debt. 

"The people thought Little would know better 
next time, so they appointed him collector for 
the following year as well. But the same thing 
happened again. Not only that, but once, when 
Little came across a poor settler with only one 
pair of boots, and these full of holes, he took off 
his own good shoes and exchanged them for 
those of the less fortunate fellow. Little had to 
use basswood bark to tie the worn-out boots to 
his feet as he went on his round. That is an 
illustration of the spirit of the pioneer days in 
Bosanquet," said Mr. Johnson, as a hurried 
interview came to a premature end. 

Not far from where the foregoing interview 
took place, under the shelter of a bit of primeval 
forest which breaks the winds that sweep in 
from Lake Huron, is a little burying ground 


where some of those who assisted Mr. Johnson 
in subduing the wilds of Bosanquot are resting 
from life's labours. Here lie the Whytes, the 
Sissons, the Johnsons, and others. 

Not all had reached maturity when the sum- 
mons came. "Our daughter and our son-in- 



law" are words inscribed on a stone which 
records that death came to a young couple, one 
of whom died in April, 1852, and the other in 
July of the same year, at the ages of twenty 
and" twenty-one. Here, too, smallpox took its 


toll, and one of the sleepers was buried at mid- 
night with none but a brother present to shed 
the last tears by an open grave. 

Of all the silent reminders of those who 
are gone, none tell a more pathetic story than 
that behind the simple inscription " Found 
Drowned," above the name of Robert Parkinson. 
Parkinson was not one of the pioneers. He was 
an American, and his body, with life barely 
extinct, was found in June, 1885, on the shore 
near the little cemetery. How he came there 
need not be told, but a brother in the United 
States, who heard of what had happened, asked 
that Christian burial be given the remains. 
Strangers interred the body beside their own 
dead and erected a simple marble slab to mark 
the place. 

Away to the east, at the junction of the 
twenty-seventh of Warwick and the London 
road, is another little cemetery with a history. 
Near here Lieutenant James Robertson, of the 
Seventy-Ninth Foot, located in 1850, and twelve 
years later, at the age of seventy-eight, his body 
was laid at rest at "the corners" within sight 
of his home. On the monument is recorded the 
fact that he was a native of Perthshire. There 
is given, too, a list of the engagements in which 
he formed part of the line against which the 
columns of the Little Corsican, then over-run- 
ning Europe, spent themselves in vain. The 
list is an imposing one, including Corunna, 
Busaco, Fuentes D'Onoro, Salamanca, Pyren- 
nees, Toulouse, and closing with that great- 
est drama of the nineteenth century Waterloo. 
In the same little enclosure are other stones 


which mark the resting-place of wife, son, 

son's wife, and two grandsons. Only one 

of all the family is left in the person of 
a daughter. 


In the creation of the Talbot settlement in 
Elgin County, both elements that entered into 
the make-up of the original population of 
Ontario joined. Some of the fathers of that 
settlement came from the United States, while 
others came from across the seas. 

"The first to come," William Watson, a son 
of one of the originals, told me, "were John 
Pearce, Stephen Backus, and Walter Storey 
from Ohio, and George Crane from Ireland. 
After their arrival, and before 1816, there fol- 
lowed James Watson, John Barker, Burgess 
Swisher, James Burwell, Charles Benedict, 
Timothy Neal, David Wallace, James Best, Neil 
McNair, Joseph Vansyth, Jekyll Younglove, 
John Mitchell, Benjamin Johnson, Obadiah 
Pettit, and John Cowan of Pingal." 

When Mr. Watson told the story, he was able 
to point to the remains of a frame structure 
that formed the original home of the Watson 
family. Not far off was a venerable spruce, 
which his father brought as a seedling from near 
Buffalo and planted in Canada. On the same 
lot were eighty apple trees, out of an original 
plantation of one hundred and seventy-three, 
grown from seed that Mr. Watson's father had 
brought all the way from Pennsylvania. This 
was probably the first bearing orchard west of 


the Niagara frontier, and for years it was the 
sole source of supply in apples for a large 
neighbourhood. On the Watson homestead there 
was erected, too, the first school in that part of 
the country. 

"The troubles of the new settlement began 
with the War of 1812-15," Mr. Watson went on. 
"After the defeat of Procter at the Thames, the 
American forces burned Colonel Talbot's mill 
and stole the horses and even the furniture and 
provisions belonging to the settlers. They also 
took the men prisoners, but afterwards released 
them on parole. The result of the devastation 
caused by war was that the little colony, which 
had just begun to get on its feet, had to start 
all over again. 

"Even without the handicap caused by war 
the struggle was strenuous enough. If a man 
broke a logging-chain, he had to travel sixty- 
six miles to the nearest blacksmith at Long 
Point to get it fixed. Grists, usually carried on 
horseback through the bush, had to be taken 
to the same point. My father once brought in 
fifteen barrels of flour by sail-boat, and next 
day there was only half a barrel left. All the 
rest had been divided among the neighbours. 
Even I can remember when it was a day's 
journey to St. Thomas, more than half the dis- 
tance being over corduroy roads through the 
bush. I recollect, too, when there was no cash 
market for wheat. Later on when we did get 
cash, farmers sold, for fifty cents a bushel, 
wheat grown from seed harrowed in among the 
stumps with an ox-team, cut with a sickle, bound 
by hand, and threshed with a flail. It was almost 


impossible to get enough cash to pay taxes and 
other unavoidable bills, but to the people of that 
day there may have been some compensation in 
the fact that whiskey was only eighteen cents 
a gallon. 

"A real boon it was that venison and fish 
could be had in abundance. I shot many deer 
in my younger days in the settlement and also 
helped to make war on their natural enemies, 
the wolves. The latter were so numerous that 
it was impossible to keep sheep. 

"For years the settlers were without a regular 
mail service. It was not until 1816 that a mail 
route was established from Watford to Talbot. 
Even this was slow and irregular and the cost 
of postage fearfully high. 

"There were no ministers in the early days 
and marriages were solemnized by magistrates. 
Although my father was not one of the original 
settlers, he was here seven years before he heard 
a sermon. The first service was held by the 
Presbyterians in 1819, and a Methodist mission 
was established shortly afterwards. 

"But all were brothers then, and this greatly 
helped in making hardships endurable. If there 
was a barn to be erected, all assisted in its erec- 
tion. When a wedding was to take place, the 
whole neighbourhood was invited. But the great 
social events of the settlement were the neigh- 
bourhood dances, which were held every week in 
winter, the neighbours taking turns in providing 
house room. The biggest room in the house was 
cleared, the great logs roared and crackled in 
the open fireplace, and flying feet kept timo 
with the wild whirl of the music." 



But the joyous throngs of that day have 
passed with the primeval forest. In the old 
churchyard at Tyrconnell they lie beneath the 
green sod, while the waves of Lake Erie 
murmur softly as they slumber. 


When David Dobie first settled on the 
banks of the Thames in the Township of Ekfrid, 
there were but a few scattered settlers on the 
Longwood Road; between that road and the 
river, a distance of some three miles, not a tree 
had been cut. On the north side of the stream 
there was not a house to be found in a stretch 
of ten miles, and on the Dunwich side the forest 
extended without a break for a distance of 
eleven miles. The Glencoe of to-day is a city 
in comparison with the London of that time, for 
when Mr. Dobie first saw London there were 
only two brick buildings in the place. 

" There was," Mr. Dobie said, "a great deal 
of fine walnut growing along the river Thames, 
and, when a market was found for it in 
Detroit, it sold at seventy-five cents a standard 
log a stardard making three hundred feet of 
lumber. Immense rafts of pine were afterwards 
floated from Dorchester, beyond London, to 
Detroit. I have seen half a dozen of these rafts, 
each one hundred and fifty feet long, go down in 
a single day, some of the logs measuring three 
feet through at the butt. 

"Another picturesque feature was added by 
the Indians. Indians then constantly passed 
to and fro in their canoes between the reserve 


at Moraviantown on the one side and Muncey- 
town on the other. 

"Game? The woods were full of game. 
Standing where we are now I have heard three 
packs of wolves, from different points, howling 
at once. One morning, in going out on a hunt 
after a slight snowfall, I saw the marks where 



twenty-five deer had lain on a knoll during the 
darkness, and a little further on, where twenty- 
seven more had rested. Going further still, we 
sighted the two lots in one bunch. 


"Wild turkeys were still more numerous. We 
sowed our first wheat among the stumps from 
which the trunks had been cut and burned. 
Next morning, after the sowing, it seemed as 
if there was a turkey on each stump. Some of 
the birds were big fellows, too. I have shot some 
that weighed thirty pounds, and in the fall, after 
the walnuts had fallen, they were rolling fat. 
Once I came up with a flock in a hollow; they 
did not see me but had been alarmed by my 
approach, and all crowded togther. I got six 
of them with one shot. 

" Pigeons were the most numerous of all. 
Sometimes it seemed as if a new-sown field was 
blue with the hosts of them. The first herald 
of their approach would be a darkening of the 
sky, and, when in full flight, masses of them 
would stretch as far as one could see in either 
direction. They nested in a grove over the 
river, and just before the young squabs were 
ready to fly settlers w r ould shake them off the 
limbs by the dozen. They were then considered 
in the best condition. 

"But the game was far from being all profit. 
Clearings were small, and what wheat was pro- 
duced in the early days sold at fifty cents per 
bushel. In many cases the crop, scanty at best, 
was almost wholly destroyed between the rav- 
ages of deer, racoons, and wild fowl; a serious 
thing for settlers who were nearly all desper- 
ately poor. Some of them, who had been helped 
out from the old country, had not a second coat 
to their backs. One year was particularly hard, 
and a few of the people were obliged to dig up 
the seed potatoes they had planted for food. 


"The Scotch were perhaps the best off. Most 
of them had been sailors or fishermen in the old 
land. They spent their spare time on sailing 
vessels on the lakes and earned money in that 
way. One of these, John Graham, afterwards 
living near OHencoe, sailed the lakes for sixty 
years, latterly as captain of a steamer. 

"In the beginning, not even so much as sur- 
veyors' lines had been run, and people fre- 
quently lost their way in the woods. On one 
occasion two children, sent on a message, wan- 
dered into the marsh west of where Button now 
is to pick blueberries, and could not find their 
way out again. The whole neighbourhood turned 
out and kept up the search for three days. The 
searchers found the place where the children 
had lain down to sleep but could not find the 
little ones. They had given up hope, when the 
lost ones suddenly appeared at the edge of a 
clearing. The children, on seeing the searchers, 
whom they did not know, ran back into the 
woods, and it was with difficulty that the party 
came up with them and brought them home. 
The stray ones were, fortunately, none the worse 
for their adventure, blueberries having provided 
them with abundant sustenance. " 

Then Mr. Dobie proceeded to tell of the only 
case I have heard of, after diligent enquiry, in 
which human life was destroyed by wild beasts. 

"In the early days," said he, "whiskey was in 
abundant supply at barn-raisings, bees, and 
other such operations. One night after a raising, 
a party of the helpers were on their way home, 
and one, who had imbibed more freely than the 
others, refused to go further. He was accord- 


ingly left in a fence corner to sleep off the effects 
of the liquor. Next morning, on his failure to 
return home, some men started out to look for 
him. They found the place where he had slept, 
but there was scarcely a shred of body, or even 
of clothing, left. Wolves had found him help- 
less, torn him limb from limb, and feasted on 
the mangled carcass. 

" Liquor was plentiful enough even at a later 
date than I speak of. On the Longwood Road 
there were six taverns in nine miles, and there 
were two distilleries near Delaware and one at 
Mount Brydges to keep these and other taverns 
in the neighbourhood in stock. After Mosa, or 
Brooke fair, it was a common thing for men to 
lie out all night by the roadside. 

''Another tragedy of the early days," said 
Mr. Dobie, as he thought again of the man torn 
by wolves, ''originated in the refusal of accom- 
modation to an Indian. One night a dusky 
hunter came to the cabin of Archie Crawford 
and asked leave to stay all night. Crawford had 
no accommodation available and told the latter 
to go on to the next cabin. The Indian had his 
gun over his shoulder and, as he turned to the 
door, he glanced along the barrel, pulled the 
trigger and Crawford fell dead with a bullet 
through his head. No, the murderer was not 
arrested. He disappeared in the wilderness, 
and Ekfrid 's first murder went unavenged. 

"A man named Gunn, who lived in Talbot 
Settlement, had rare skill in the setting of 
broken bones. He frequently travelled twenty- 
five miles on horseback over bush trails to set 
a broken limb." 


How Mr. Dobie happened to settle in Ekfrid, 
and the story of the journey he and his friends 
had to make in reaching there, is no less interest- 
ing than his reminiscenses of the pioneer days. 
In the early 'thirties a number of settlers near 
Frederieton, N. B., became dissatisfied with 
their surroundings and determined to seek out 
new homes in Upper Canada. Accordingly 
Andrew Coulter, James Allan, and a German 
were sent to spy out the land. On arriving at 
Windsor they walked to Chatham, from there 
to Sarnia, and spent Christmas at Westminster. 
Next spring the party returned to Frederieton, 
and it was decided that only those named above 
should remove to Ekfrid; but Mr. Dobie 's father 
and Mr. Clanahan, whose son was afterwards 
postmaster at Glencoe, decided to seek homes in 
the new land as well. 

"We went by schooner from St. John to New 
York," he said, "and spent thirteen days in 
covering the seven hundred miles, twice as long 
as it takes to cross the Atlantic to-day. From 
New York we took the steamer to Albany; 
then by Erie Canal to* Buffalo, and from 
Buffalo we travelled by steamer to Port Stanley. 
On the way from Port Stanley to our new home, 
a distance of fifty miles, two days were spent. 
All told, we wore a month on the journey." 

By way of contrast, it may be said that when 
Mr. Dobie and his daughter paid a visit to the 
old home at Frederieton after railway commun- 
ication had been established, they were just 
thirty-four hours on tho way less by fourteen 
hours than the time spent in making the last 
fiftv miles to Ekfrid in the 'thirties. 





This story, which had its beginning in the 
neighbourhood of Brockville, was told me one 
June evening in 1898 by B. McLean Purdy as 
we sat together, where Eugenia Falls marks the 
opening of the picturesque valley of the Beaver. 
Mr. Purdy was born near Brockville, but in 1837 
the family decided to move to where Lindsay 
now stands. 

"From Brockville to Cobourg the trip was 
made in comparative comfort by steamer," Mr. 
Purdy began, "but after leaving Cobourg it was 
one trouble after another and each succeed- 
ing trouble seemed a little worse than the one 
just surmounted. Kingston Boad appeared to be 
a bottomless sea of mud mud which might have 
served for plastering houses but was a most 
unsatisfactory material for road-making. The 
first stop was near Port Hope, and there 
some of the family belongings, which were too 
heavy to move further in the then state of the 
roads, were temporarily stored with a relative. 
Our second night stop was at Oshawa, which 
was at that time just being 'hatched out.' Next 
day we drove fifteen miles to Lake Scugog, and 
the following night people and horses were 
sheltered in the same building that is, if the 
place deserved the name building. Earth 



formed the floor, there were great open spaces 
between the logs of which the walls were built, 
and we could count the stars overhead by look- 
ing up through the breaks in the roof. Luckily 
there was no rain that night. Next day men, 
women, and horses were once more close com- 
panions, all being herded together on a flat- 
bottomed boat for the voyage over Lake Scugog. 
Scugog then no more deserved the name of lake 
than the shelter of the night before deserved the 
name of house. It was a mass of marsh and 
grass, the only clear water being that in the 
channel followed by the scow. Camp was 
pitched on Washburn Island, and next day we 
reached our destination at the point where 
Lindsay is now located. A relative, Wm. 
Purdy, was living there. His father, Jesse 
Purdy, had lived on the Hudson before the 
American Revolution, and was given four 
hundred acres in return for building the first 
mill in Lindsay. 

"The whole place was a tangled mass of cedar 
and hardwood; but visions of the future were 
present, and the remaining two hundred acres 
forming the townsite of to-day were sold in half 
acre lots at twenty and thirty dollars with five 
acre park lots at proportionate prices. 

"In 1854, I moved to Meaford, following the 
route north of Scugog, south of Lake Simcoe, 
and up through Nottawasaga to what is now 
Duntroon. Duntroon has been a place of many 
names. When I first reached there, a man by 
the name of McNabb was keeping tavern and 
the place bore his name. Obe Wellings bought 
the tavern later, and the name of the locality 


changed with the change in ownership of the 
hostelry. Altogether there were at least a dozen 
changes of name before Duntroon was finally 
hit upon. Continuing on our way we found 
fairly good sleighing over the Blue Mountains, 
but when we struck Beaver Valley we were once 
more in liquid mud. The Parks and Heathcotes 
had settled in the valley before us and there 
were a few buildings in Meaford, one of these 
being occupied as a store by one of my brothers. 
Living in Meaford then were Wm. Stephens, 
D. L. Dayton, John Layton, and Philip and 
Frank Barber. After remaining a short time 
at Meaford, I pushed on to Eugenia Falls, where 
I made my permanent home. 

"At that time, which was before the Northern 
Railway had been extended to Collingwood, 
supplies for Meaford were teamed from Barrie 
to Willow Creek, and from there they were 
floated down the Nottawasaga River to its 
mouth. They were then put on board bateaux, 
which, waiting for favourable wind, hugged the 
shore of Georgian Bay to Meaford. 

"In the first years of the settlement, incoming 
settlers provided a sufficient market for the 
products of those who had arrived earlier. 
When a surplus was produced we had to 
team our stuff to Toronto, the journey occupying 
several days. Wheat disposed of, after all the 
labour involved in production and marketing, 
sold for a dollar a bushel. Return loads con- 
sisted of such things as salt, bought at from two 
dollars to two dollars and a half a barrel; calico, 
at twenty-five cents per yard, and tea, up to one 
dollar a pound. 


"The first houses in the valley consisted of 
two rooms, one above and one below, the upper 
floor being reached by a ladder. Instead of 
chairs we had benches made of split slabs. Beds 
and tables were made of the same material. 

"A colony of beaver had a dam where 
Sloan's mill was afterwards built, but these timid 
animals left soon after white men began to come 
in. Near where Kimberley afterwards sprang 
up was a favourite resort for both deer and 
wolves, the ground frequently being tracked like 
a cattle-yard. Once, when I had occasion for 
some reason to retrace my steps, I found that a 
wolf had been stalking me. 

"In the early days of the settlement, the men, 
after putting in their spring crops in the scanty 
clearings, went off in twos and threes to earn 
money in the more advanced settlements at 'the 
front. ' Meantime the women remained to keep 
lonely vigil in the log cabins, while the night 
wind was pierced by the howling of wolves in 
the neighbouring forest. Frail in body some of 
those women may have been, but granite in 
spirit they all were." 

Shortly after his arrival at the Falls, Mr. 
Purdy began securing records for what he 
called "The Eugenia Falls Album." In this 
album visitors who went there during a period 
covering nearly half a century were asked to 
record their impressions. 

One of the first entries was made by Joseph 
Wilson, of Nottawasaga, and James Perry, of 
Essa, who built a saw-mill at the Falls in 
May, 1858. 

On June 8th of the same year, R. L. 



Tindall, "Minister of the Gospel, Melauchthon, " 
ventured the prediction that "some day this 
will be a place of resort and of much business. ' ' 
N. C. Gowan, a son of Ogle R. (rowan, who was a 
visitor in 1860, also hazarded the role of prophet 
when he wrote, "God has done it nobly, wisely, 



well; a city here will rise." Both prophesies 
have been fulfilled, in part at least. This beauty 
spot is a "place of resort," and, if a city has 
not risen at the site, power generated at the 
Falls, and carried by that most mysterious and 


wonderful of agencies, the electric wire, is used 
in turning the wheels of industry in a dozen 
urban centres. 

There are hundreds of pages in the Album 
with sentiments grave and gay expressed 
thereon, one of the best being that left by Silas 
Hallett, of Ravenna, who visited the Falls in 
1888. "This is a day that will never fade from 
my memory." Mr. Hallett voiced what every 
man, capable of appreciating Nature's works, 
must feel on visiting Eugenia, one of the most 
beautiful scenes in all Ontario. 

John Sewell, who went into Euphrasia in 
1845, told of one incident that furnished a strik- 
ing mental picture of conditions in the country 
south of Meaford at that time. 

"One day when my brother and I were out 
setting mink-traps, a man suddenly rose up 
before us and I was a good deal more scared than 
I would have been had a bear appeared in place 
of the man," said Mr. Sewell as I chatted with 
him one evening. "I did not suppose that there 
was any other than my brother and myself 
for miles around. The stranger said his name 
was Ellwood, that he was a trapper, and that 
his home was in the United States. 

"Fifteen years later than this, when Samuel 
Wylie settled near Woodhouse, the seventeen 
mile drive to Meaford was considered a long 
day's journey, and over part of the way horses 
were up to their middle in mud. One family 
that came in about that time had to cut up 
cotton bags to make clothing and another was 
forced to subsist for some time on turnips. 
Some food, however, was cheap enough. At the 


Chantler store in Meaford salted suckers, could 
he bought at a dollar a barrel, and salmon as 
long as a man's arm cost ten cents. But dollars 
and cents were scarce just how scarce is indi- 
cated by the fact that one year's taxes for the 
whole township of St. Vincent amounted to 
sixty-three dollars, thirty-seven and a half cents. 
Robert Mitchell was the first collector for the 
township, and he had to pay the taxes over to 
the treasurer in Barrie. Once, when Mr. 
Mitchell was about ready to start off for this 
purpose, he discovered that the wallet containing 
the tax money was missing. Looking about he 
saw his old sow with the purse in her mouth, 
scattering the money over the snow. The bills 
were recovered but the small change was lost/' 
The extension of the Northern Railway to 
Collingwood made easier the task of settling 
the Georgian Bay townships west of that point ; 
but even then the hardships and dangers 
were trying enough. When the mother of J. W. 
Patton first went as a young woman to Rocklyn, 
in Euphrasia, she journeyed by rail to Colling- 
wood. A letter sent in advance asking her 
brother-in-law to meet her at Rocklyn had not 
been delivered, so the remaining twenty miles, a 
good deal of the way through the bush, was 
begun all alone and on foot. At a still later date, 
when Mrs. Patton desired to visit her old home, 
she and her husband carried their child while 
walking to Meaford, thirteen miles away, to take 
boat for Collingwood. On the return journey, no 
steamer being due, Mrs. Patton and another 
woman engaged passage by small boat from Col- 
lingwood to Meaford. "A storm came up while 


we were on our way," Mrs. Pattern told me, "and 
I had to use the baby's hat in baling out the boat. 
My clothes became so soaked with water that 
I could hardly move, and I thought that each 
wave as it came would engulf us." 


Most of the records of the early days in 
Huron on which I have drawn, were obtained 
from those of the second generation. But 1 
found one man, Moses Pierce, of McGillivray 
township, who could tell of what "these eyes 
have seen and these ears have heard." 

"I had been living in Markham township," 
said Mr. Pierce, "and in my early days Yonge 
Street was fairly passable only as far north as 
Thornhill. Passengers could ride that far by 
stage ; but on going further they not only had to 
walk, but at intervals had to assist in prying the 
stage out of bog holes with handspikes. When 
I left for the Huron tract, the usual means of 
making the journey was by boat from Toronto 
to Hamilton and after that it was ride by wagon 
or foot it. We took wagon from Toronto to 
Hamilton, and that was a three days' journey. 
London to Clandeboye, twenty miles, took 
another day. For the last five or six miles to the 
place where we settled, we had to zig-zag 
through the bush with an ox-team. 

"The land in that section belonged to the 
Canada Company and the price was from three 
to ten dollars per acre. This may seem to those 
of the present day a low price for land, 
but where was the money to come from? 


Even oak timber was unsaleable here then. Some 
of the finest oak that ever grew was split into 
rails to make snake-fences, and the timber was 
still sound as a bell fifty years later. Other 
equally good oak was rolled into log-heaps and 
burned. Those logs to-day would be worth more 
than the cleared farms on which they were 
burned. To give you an idea of how scarce 
money then was I may mention one incident, 
An Indian offered the entire carcass of a deer 
he had shot for a dollar, but there was not a 
dollar between our place and the town-line to 
make the purchase. 

'Yes, deer were plentiful then. I have seen 
five on our farm at one time. Wolves wer< 
numerous, too, and once a pack of these brutes 
kept the Gamble boys prisoners all night in a 
bush where they had been making sugar. 

'Two acres of the bush had been thinned out 
before we went on our place, but the shanty was 
without a door, and a hole in the roof, besides 
serving for a chimney, furnished the only sun- 
light. There was not a nail or piece of metal 
in the whole structure. Some of the cabins in 
the neighbourhood were so built that oxen could 
haul logs right up to the fireplace. 

'The family bed in the first cabin was pro- 
vided by boring holes in one of the wall logs, 
driving stakes in these supported by posts at the 
outer end, and laying on top slabs split from 
basswood with the smooth side up. As the fam- 
ily increased the bed was widened. 

"In the first ten years, although wheat was 
sown year after year, few settlers produced 
enough for their own bread. The grain would 


give excellent promise at the start and then the 
rust would come and destroy it. After the rust 
came the midge, and this continued until we 
secured midge-proof wheat. Naturally flour was 
a scarce article. When one neighbour secured a 
bag or two, this was shared with others, and, 
when the flour was gone, it was a case of potatoes 
and corn. Even potatoes were scarce at times. 
When nuts failed, the squirrels ate our potatoes, 
and more than once the seed-cuttings were 
destroyed before they had time to sprout. The 
flour that was obtained was secured at the cost 
of heart-breaking toil. One couple sixty years 
of age, carried their grist nine miles on their 
backs. A Scotch girl walked eight or ten miles 
to our place and carried one hundred pounds 
of flour home on her back. Her way led through 
an unbroken bush, in which you could see only a 
few yards ahead and wherein you had to be 
careful of your bearings to avoid getting lost. 
When my crops failed, in order to earn money 
enough to keep things going, I would help my 
neighbours with their building all day and do 
my own logging after night fall. At times after 
chopping all day, I have made barrels during 
half the night." 

William Pierce, a son of Moses, gave a touch 
of humour to the story of the past. "The first 
school I went to," said William, "was held in 
a log shanty, twelve by fourteen feet. The 
teacher was in the habit of getting drunk, and, 
when he was incapacitated, his wife took his 
place. At noon hour, on my first day at school, 
she locked us in, as she said, to prevent the bears 
from getting us, while she went to dinner. 


Tiring of the confinement before the hour was 
up, we determined to get outside. The only 
means of exit was a hole in the gable end of the 
shanty, and we could not climb up the log wall 
from the floor to reach that opening because the 
spaces between the logs had been neatly chinked 
up. This difficulty was gotten over by one boy 
standing on the shoulders of another and so 
reaching the top log. Then he pulled the 
others up in turn and all slipped out of the 
hole in the gable end. In a little while a cry 
was raised that the teacher was coming, and then 
the boys clambered up the outside like a lot of 
bears, slipped in through the hole to their seats, 
where they were found quietly in place when 
the teacher opened the door." 

Linwood Craven, like his neighbour, Moses 
Pierce, was one of the originals and, like Mr. 
Pierce, could tell of the almost unbelievable 
hardships borne by those who blazed the way. 
In the case of Mr. Craven, indeed, the hardships 
began with his arrival in Canada in 1842. Small- 
pox was raging in the country in that year and 
Mr. Craven contracted the disease while in 
Montreal. " After I recovered I was almost 
ready to go back," Mr. Craven told me, "and I 
set a stick on end in the street and decided that 
if it fell to the east I would go back and if it fell 
to the west I would stay. My wife was deter- 
mined to remain in any case, and so it was per- 
haps fortunate that the stick fell to the west. I 
exchanged my sovereigns in the office of Mayor 
Beaudiy. The last T saw of the yellow coins 
they were laid out in the form of a horse-shoe in 
the mayor's window. 


1 'When I settled in McGillivray, there was not 
a white settler between our place and Lake 
Huron save for a little French community about 
Brewster's Mills on the lake shore. There were 
numerous Indians, though; and one of these, old 
Chief Petanquet, once, while drunk, laid my 
jacket open with a knife. Seizing an axe, I said 
that I would cut him down if he did it again. 
That sobered him and he apologized, at the same 
time giving me his knife as a pledge of future 
good behaviour. " 

The goddess of chance appears to have been 
frequently called upon to settle the choice of first 
location. Norris and Sallows, two neighbours, 
flipped a coin for first choice in Colborne. The 
first of the Snells and a neighbour drew lots in 
Hullett. Craven said that he would give or take 
a quarter with 'Big Jim' Robson for first choice 
in McGillivray. "When Robson took the quar- 
ter I felt certain that he did not intend to 
remain," said Mr. Craven," and sure enough 
he never came back after locating. 

"When I arranged to put up a shanty, 
although it was only eight logs high, neighbours 
refused to assist until I provided a gallon of 
whiskey. After the shanty was up, it was l short 
commons' for us all for some years. For tea 
we used burned bread, and peas for making 
imitation coffee. When our first child was 
born, there was not a pound of flour in the 
house, and, when I went to neighbour after 
neighbour with a pillow-slip to borrow some, I 
found plenty of corn-meal, but no flour. At last 
I was able to get a little from Robert Arm- 
strong; but this was only enough for the mother 


of the babe, and I had to do with coin-meal for 
six weeks. 

"That winter I chopped eight acres, and next 
spring my wife and I logged most of it by hand. 
I cut the logs in short lengths so that they would 
be easier to handle, and cut the trees off close to 
the ground so that stumps would not be in 
the way of cultivation. It was certainly no light 
winter's work, to cut up the trees, many two 
and three feet through, growing on eight acres. 
After the land was cleared, we had to carry rails 
by hand for fencing; but the slow r est work of all 
was raking up the leaves. 

"When our first grain was harvested, it was 
put in a stack near the cabin and there was no 
place to thresh it save on the cabin floor. I 
carried in one or two sheaves at a time, and in 
threshing I had to stand between two of the 
split logs forming the roof so that the flail would 
not hit the ceiling. Meantime my wife covered 
baby with a blanket to prevent the dust from 
choking him. When the grain was threshed, we 
had to drive six or eight miles to the mill and, 
short as that distance was, two days were spent 
going and coming. Sometimes we had to go a 
second time for the grist at that. Once, when 
a party of four of us were going to Brewstcr's 
mill, eighteen miles distant, we ate the small 
lunch carried with us in going. On arrival at 
the mill, Brewster told us that he had no food 
either to give or sell. There was, however, a pot 
of potatoes boiling on the stove and an Irishman 
in the party seized one of the potatoes. That 
and a squirrel which we caught had to serve us 
until we reached a tavern on our return trip. 


"On the same journey I carried an axe on 
my shoulder, and a man named Train, following 
behind, laid his lower lip open when he stum- 
bled against it. Without a word of complaint, 
he split a leaf from a plug of tobacco, drew the 
cut together, and came on as if nothing had 

"Yes, the rust played havoc with all of us in 
the early days of wheat-growing. Had it not 
been for the introduction of Egyptian wheat, 



which proved rust resisting, I believe many 
would have starved. We were all hard enough 
pressed as it was. One year, when my tax bill 
fame due, T could not meet the bill although it 
was only t\v<> dollars. In order to raise the 
money I took a load of hay to London, twenty- 
five miles away, by ox-team, spent two days on 


the way, and sold the load for exactly the 
amount of my taxes. 

"Our first Methodist preacher was named 
Case. He and a mulatto, a Baptist, preached 
in the same cabin. The Methodist had no horse; 
even if he had possessed one he could not have 
taken it over the roads as they then were, and 
so he walked to his several appointments.'* 

"When my father settled on lot twenty-seven 
on the seventh of Hullett, he was the 'farthest 
north' white man in Western Ontario," James 
Snell told me. "The upper part of Huron and 
the whole of Bruce were covered by an unbroken 
forest. Father's worldly goods consisted of the 
axe on his shoulder and a quarter in his pocket. 

"Even two years later than that, when he 
married, it was often potatoes and cabbage for 
meals one day, varied by cabbage and potatoes 
the next. One neighbour was without flour for 
two weeks. Once, when an attempt was made to 
bring flour overland by way of Clinton, the sup- 
ply was all gobbled up before Clinton was passed. 
A neighbour carried half a barrel of flour on his 
back from Clinton to his own home, a distance 
of three miles. William Young, of Carlow, 
spent his first weeks in the shelter of a tree ; and 
flat stones, taken from the bed of a creek, formed 
the fireplace in which his food, mostly game and 
fish, was cooked. One day, father, on his way 
home, met a bear at a point where the 
road was very narrow. Father stepped on one 
side, the bear responded by stepping to the 
other, and so each passed on his way an 
exhibition of good manners of which father fre- 
quently expressed his warmest appreciation. 


"The land in our township was bought at 
from three to twelve dollars per acre, depending 
on the quality of the timber. That was merely 
the first cost. To clear ten acres of black ash 
swamp on our farm cost twenty-five dollars per 
acre; and after that there was the stumping, 
stoning, fencing, draining, and building. They 
tell us Canadians are a great people. They 
should be. They are the descendants of the 
greatest stock the world ever produced. None 
but men of strong arms and brave hearts could 
have accomplished the work that was accom- 
plished by the pioneers of Old Ontario. ' ' 

How well that work was accomplished and 
to what extent the children of these pioneers 
were worthy of their ancestors, is shown in one 
case by the history of the Snell farm itself. A 
little over half a century after the first tree was 
cut on the farm, stock produced there captured 
twenty-one prizes, eleven of these firsts, at the 
Chicago World's Fair, the winnings being made 
in open competition with communities that had 
three centuries of civilization behind them. 

"My father moved to Huron in 1835," said 
Henry Morris, another Colborne township 
pioneer. "At that time there were only three 
houses in Goderich. In one of these, a log 
shanty, father spent his first night with a pile 
of shavings for a bed. Father and his brother 
chose as their location in Colborne, lots six and 
seven on the ninth, tossing a copper for first 
choice. ' ' 

Mr. Morris told an interesting story of the 
clock his father took with him to the township, 
which clock was still keeping perfect time when 


I talked with him sixty-five years later. "The 
clock was made in Germany," said Mr. Morris, 
"and belonged to a man for whom father 
worked near Hamilton. It had been sent to a 
watchmaker's for repairs and father was told 
that he could have it by paying the charges. 
The offer was accepted, and in the next sixty- 
five years it was repaired only once." 


"Our family arrived at Kincardine township 
at three o'clock in the afternoon of a March day 
in 1851, and our first task was to clear about five 
feet of snow out of the shanty that was waiting 
for us. This shanty had been built by my brother 
in the previous autumn; but the one door had 
not been hung, or the walls chinked up, which 
accounted for the accumulation of snow. 
Although I was only seven at the time, my task 
was to assist the other children in gathering 
moss to block the spaces between the logs form- 
ing the walls of the shanty. Next I was sent to 
cut hemlock boughs, and these, spread on the 
earthern floor and covered with blankets, formed 
our bed. Another blanket closed the doorway." 
Thus Neil McBougall began his story. 

"Next day we put in one window and built a 
chimney formed of sticks and puddled clay. 
Fire in the open hearth soon baked this clay as 
hard as brick. A permanent door was made of 
lumber brought with us, but basswood logs were 
split to form the floor. A space was left before 
the fireplace and this was afterwards filled in 
with cobble-stones. 


"Our family, coming originally from Scotland, 
had spent some time in Brock township. The 
journey from Brock to Kincardine was made in 
a sleigh by way of the lower end of Lake Simcoe, 
Orangeville, and the town of Durham. At 
Durham, we were detained by a storm for three 
days, sleeping meantime on the floor of a shanty 
belonging to a man named Hunter. At the town 
of Kincardine, or what is now the town, the 
sleigh was left behind and the remaining ten 
miles made on foot, each one of the party carry- 
ing some of the household effects. My share, 
although, as I said, I was but seven years of age, 
consisted of the tea-kettle, tea-pot, and a blan- 
ket. An older brother carried the family table. 
Not a tree was chopped along that ten miles and 
the snow was from four to five feet deep in 
the woods. 

"In the previous fall, my brothers had left a 
yoke of oxen with a man at Priceville, who 
promised to keep them over winter for their 
work. The keeping was so badly done that 
when we picked them up on our way, one gave 
out on the road and afterwards died and the 
other was kept alive only by feeding it scones; 
we had no hay. 

"Owing to the crippling of our ox-team, we 
had to do our spring logging by hand. We 
possessed only an acre of clearing that spring, 
but next fall that acre was literally covered with 
nice mealy potatoes. During the summer, John 
McPhail, a neighbour, purchased another ox and 
that made a yoke for our joint use, the first ox- 
team in the section. We bought a cow, too, and 
during the next winter the cattle were main- 


tained on a few turnips, a little oats, and the 
browse in the bush. The cattle seemed to know 
that meal time was coming when they saw the 
men start for the bush with axes, and they fol- 
lowed after. A tree was no sooner down than 
the animals were feasting on the juicy sprouts 
of the top. They actually came out fat in 
the spring. 

4 'At the beginning, all our supplies were 
packed from Kincardine, ten miles away, and it 
took two bushels of wheat to buy a pound of 
tea. With boots at seven dollars per pair, you 
will not be surprised .when I tell you that some 
went barefooted in winter. When cattle were 
killed, we took the skin from the bend at the 
knee to make moccasins. Sometimes, owing to 
rough weather, supplies of flour at Kincardine 
became exhausted, and then the settlers' food 
was limited to potatoes and fish. Occasionally, 
in winter, the fish gave out, too ; and then it was 
potatoes and cow-cabbage. Some families lived 
for weeks at a time on these, with a little 
milk and butter added. The cattle fed on cow- 
cabbage, too. These plants grew to a height of 
about two and a half feet, and cattle would eat 
all they could hold in half an hour. At times, 
when we could not get our wheat ground we 
boiled it whole for food. 

"The Rev. William Frazer, a Baptist, who 
had a small grist-mill, was a missionary as well 
as a miller. For twenty-five years he preached 
in the little community, walking eight or nine 
miles to keep appointments, which I never knew 
him to miss, rain or shine, winter or summer; 
and he never took a dollar in pay for this ser- 


vice. He served for a time as inspector of 
schools in addition to his other work. 

" There was not a doctor within sixty miles; 
still I never knew of a death in child-birth. Cuts 
were common when the bush was being cleared, 
and were treated with home-made salves." 

"Two or three families were dependent on 
one cow for their milk in the early years," said 
Charles McDougall, an older brother of Neil. 
"In the first two years, we never once tasted 
meat, and our tea was made by using burned 
bread crumbs. Scones were fashioned 011 a 
rough board split from a basswood log. People 
in the township of Bruce, to the north of us, 
were still worse off. I have seen them drive 
past our place with oxen drawing home-made 
wooden carts that frequently got stuck in the 
mud holes. The people of that township, like 
ourselves, had to go to Kincardine for their sup- 
plies; but in their case the journey extended 
over two or three days." 

A typical incident of pioneer days in Bruce 
County was mentioned by Mr. McDougall. In 
a year of scarcity three men started for Ash- 
field, two townships away, to secure potatoes. 
Growing hungry by the way they stopped at a 
cabin to ask for food. 

"I have only enough in the house to make 
supper for the children," answered the woman 
who came to the door. 

"Then we cannot take that," said the men. 

"But you will," was the instant response. 
"My husband has gone off for flour, which he 
will surely get, and the children can wait until 
he returns. Come in and eat." 


Another touching story of a father's devotion 
.was told by Mr. McDougall. 

" Among the first arrivals in Bruce were six 
families from Tyre, Scotland," said he. "When 
the party arrived at Walkerton, the nine-year- 
old daughter of Donald McKinnon became ill 
and the father paused in his journey to nurse 
his sick child, while the other members of the 
party pressed on to Kincardine. After the 
child partially recovered, the father took her on 
his back and started after the others, wading 
the Saugeen River on the way. But the child 
died almost as soon as Kincardine was reached, 
and her body was the first one laid in the 
old cemetery where the Presbyterian Church 
now stands. Grief and the hardships of the 
trip proved too much for the father, and he also 
succumbed shortly afterwards." 

One can almost believe that, in the days which 
followed, others in the party envied the two who 
had fallen at the threshold of the new settle- 
ment, Home and kindred were beyond the sea, 
all was new and strange, and before the scanty 
means of livelihood brought from beyond the 
seas could be added to by production in the new 
home giant trees had to be cleared away by 
men who did not know how to wield an axe. 


"Is it worth while?" The question was asked 
by Peter Clark of the township of Culross 
between sixty and seventy years ago. It is no 
wonder Mr. Clark thus queried. It was the 
depth of winter. The habitation occupied was a 


log shanty twelve feet by sixteen feet, the 
spaces between the logs being filled with mud 
plaster. The only company he had was W. H. 
Campbell, and there was not then a single house 
in Teeswater. The site of Wingham was still 
part of the original forest; Lucknow was not 
even a cross-roads; and all about was un- 
broken bush. 

Mr. Clark's experiences before reaching 
Bruce were also such as to produce a feeling 
of pessimism. From London to Clinton he and 
his companion, Campbell, had tramped forty- 
eight miles over mud roads in one day in the 
previous autumn. Clinton to Goderich, over 
still worse roads, was covered in a second day. 
Goderich to Lucknow, over country almost with- 
out roads, occupied the third day, and, on the 
fourth, the site of Teeswater was reached over 
blazed trails. There the night was spent in the 
woods. This was on the ninth of September, 
and from that time until October, when their 
rude cabin was finished, the forest furnished the 
only shelter Mr. Clark and his companion had. 
Ts it any wonder that the companions asked 
themselves if there would be any roads, neigh- 
bours, schools, churches and the other necessities 
and comforts incident to civilization? It is not 
surprising that for a time, Mr. Clark decided it 
was not worth while ; and, after distributing his 
immediate belongings among his nearest neigh- 
bours, he started for Goderich to visit an old 
schoolmate, H. D. Cameron, then principal of 
the school in that town. At Mr. Cameron's 
solicitations Mr. Clark tried for a teacher's 
certificate, and, passing the necessary examina- 


tion, secured a school at Wawanosh. That was 
the turn of the tide for him. While teaching 
at Wawanosh, he visited his farm in Culross 
often enough to hold it under the conditions of 
the grant. Later on he taught the first school in 
Teeswater, but eventually settled down on 
his farm. 

It was, however, a long and dreary wait for 
the things that came later. "In the beginning," 
Mr. Clark said, "I more than once packed one 
hundred pounds of wheat on my back to the 
nearest grist-mill, and that mill was thirteen 
miles away. Once, after assisting at a raising 
two miles from my farm, I lost the blazed trail 
in the woods while going home in the dark and 
lay down to spend the night in the bush. Awak- 
ened by the howling of wolves, I started a fire 
to frighten the animals off and then lay down 
and slept on until morning. 

"My greatest scare, though, occurred in that 
first fall. We had plenty of game, but were 
often down to our last crust of bread. Campbell 
on one of these occasions decided to go to 
Riverdale for flour and other provisions. He 
started on a Monday expecting to return next 
day, but when he did not get back on Wednes- 
day nor even on Thursday I fairly shook with 
terror. I feared that Campbell had been 
drowned, and that I would find it impossible to 
give a satisfactory explanation of his disappear- 
ance. In imagination I could even see the sheriff 
and the hangman's noose; but at last I heard a 
great splashing down the river, and in a short 
time Campbell himself appeared." 

While almost all the pioneers whom I inter- 


viewed, told of the spirit of mutual helpfulness 
that prevailed in the early days, there were 
occasional references to displays of meanness 
and selfishness. One incident of this nature 
occurred when two travellers were going south 
on the road leading from Dufferin to the front. 
One traveller was on foot and one in a sleigh. 
As the latter caught up to the pedestrian a 
request for a ride was curtly refused. The one 
on foot, in the then state of the roads, was able 
to travel as fast as the one in the sleigh, and as 
the parties passed and repassed each other 
repeated requests for a lift, or even for the 
privilege of hanging on behind, were denied. 
But just retribution was not long delayed. Both 
travellers reached the same tavern as night came 
on. The one on foot was known there; the man 
driving was unknown. The footsore pilgrim told 
his tale, and the churl with the team was 
promptly cast into the outer darkness where 
he belonged. 

Mr. Clark told of a somewhat similar exper- 
ience. "On the way back from the distant mill, 
with packs of flour on their shoulders, the first 
settlers naturally got hungry by the way," said 
Mr. Clark. "On some occasions, on dropping 
into a wayside cabin, even the privilege of mak- 
ing scones from their own flour was refused. 
But this was a rare exception and was more 
than over-balanced by the open-hearted hos- 
pitality in other quarters. John McBain and his 
wife were a particularly generous couple. No 
traveller was ever permitted to pass their door 
while hungry, and a bed was always at the dis- 
posal of one who appeared as darkness 


approached. Many of the Culross pioneers 
had reason to bless the McBains. 

" Another of the whole-hearted ones was 
Samuel Woods. In their second year some of 
the settlers did not have even potatoes. Samuel, 
whose home was in a hollow log, had not so very 
many himself, but he was always ready to share 
up with others. Whenever a hungry one came 
along, Sam just pointed to the potato patch and 
told the visitor to help himself." 

The question, "Is it worth while'?" which Mr. 
Clark asked himself shortly after the middle of 
the last century was well answered before that 
century ended. Well-tilled fields had then suc- 
ceeded the tangle of the forest; stone and brick 
residences had displaced the log shanties; and 
a community had been built up in which the 
homely virtues of the pioneer period did not 
disappear with the coming of prosperity. 


"I moved into Kinloss in the same year 1854 
that Mr. Clark moved into Culross," said Mr. 
Corrigan a friend of Mr. Clark. "In one 
respect a more unfortunate time could not have 
been selected for making the venture. The 
Russian war had forced wheat up to two dollars 
and a quarter per bushel and our people had not 
yet begun to produce wheat. It had forced pork 
up to ten and twelve dollars per hundred weight 
and the settlers were buyers, not sellers, of 
pork. As few of them had more than fifty 
dollars to start on, you can imagine how far 
their available funds went in the purchase of 


necessary food. As a matter of fact many were 
compelled to subsist for weeks on cow-cabbage, 
a vegetable that then grew wild in the woods. 
This cabbage was not unlike lettuce, and boiled 
with pork was a real luxury ; but few had money 
to buy the pork. 

"Then, a year or two later, just when our 
people were beginning to get on their feet, and 
wheat in the newly made clearing was seemingly 
about to yield an abundant harvest, one night's 
frost blighted the whole prospect. Not a bushel 
of wheat was harvested in the settlement 
that year. 

"The hardest blow of all, however, was sus- 
tained through an act of the authorities. The 
Government of Sandfield Macdonald had aided 
the people with loans of money and seed in the 
year when frost came, and in 1868-69 the Govern- 
ment ordered that the interest, which had been 
allowed to accumulate while people were trying 
to regain their feet, as well as the principal, must 
all be paid off at once. It was reported, whether 
truly or not, that the Government was impelled 
to this action by financial interests in Toronto, 
which had just received large sums of Old Coun- 
try money to be loaned. In any case the people 
of Bruce rushed to these money-lenders for 
funds to meet the demands made upon them. 
Loans obtained from these lenders were repay- 
able in annual instalments and the interest 
figured out at about twelve and one half per 
cent. Scores of those who had struggled 
through the trials of the pioneer period, who had 
borne up even in the year when their wheat 
\vas destroyed by frost, now with old age 


approaching went down beneath the load of the 
mortgage. They were forced to sell their 
belongings and move to the United States. 
'Only for the mortgages we could have pulled 
through/ was their bitter cry. It was a cruel 
blow, and Canada lost many good citizens at 
that time. 

"In one respect we were favoured," continued 
Mr. Corrigan with a smile. "Most of those who 
settled in Kinloss went there in the prime of 
life. There were few children to educate or aged 
to care for. But for this I do not know how any 
would have pulled through. Death came occa- 
sionally, even to a community in which the death 
rate was low because of the ages of those 
composing it, and in the absence of regular 
cemeteries, most of those who died were buried 
on the farms their labour had been helping to 
create. One such burial-place was located on 
one of my own farms. Facilities for marriage 
were as scarce as facilities for burial. When my 
wife and I were married we had to go to Owen 
Sound for the purpose, and we spent two days 
going and a like time returning. 

"The infrequency of religious services also 
bore heavily on the pioneers. This hardship 
was felt with especial severity by the Roman 
Catholics, who were fewer in numbers than the 
Protestants. Our first priest had his head- 
quarters in Owen Sound. He was able to visit 
us only once a year, and the entire journey from 
Owen Sound was made on foot. 

1 ' Our first wheat was cleaned either by sifting 
it through a screen or placing it on a sheet and 
then shaking the sheet so as to throw the grain 



up in the air and allow the wind to carry off the 
chaff. When fanning-mills came in, they were 
taken from farm to farm as threshing outfits 
are now." 

The Corrigans had an easier time of it in 
Bruce than most of those who pioneered in that 
county, because before going there, they had 
pioneered in Hastings and had accumulated 
twenty-three or twenty-four hundred dollars 
quite a fortune for that day. 

"But we had our share 
of it when I was a lad in 
Hastings/' Mr. Corrigan 
concluded. ' * I have heard 
my father say that he had 
to tramp twenty-five miles 
to buy a pipe, and that 
when he first settled in 
Hastings his worldly pos- 
sessions consisted of an 
axe, a ham, and a five dol- 
lar gold-piece. We moved 
from Hastings to Kinloss 
in a covered wagon, a 
month being spent on the 
way. We had to stop over 
for two weeks at Cooks- 

ville owing to one of our horses having been 
injured by a kick, and it was while there that I 
had my first sight of one of the first great 
labour-savers; a mowing-machine. 

I believe ours was the first wagon to enter 
Kinloss; and that wagon, which had a canvas 
cover, formed our habitation until a shanty was 



To the late John S. McDonald, one of the most 
thoroughly upright men who ever sat in the 
Legislature of Ontario, I was indebted for some 
reminiscences of early days near Ripley. 

Mr. McDonald came from Ayrshire in 1854. 
After spending some fifteen months in Ancaster, 
he determined to make a new home in the 
township of Kincardine. His route lay through 
Gait, Stratford, and Goderich, and eight 
days were spent in making the journey with 
horse and ox-teams. "Gait," Mr. McDonald 
said, "was then a small village; but Stratford, 
which had lately been swept by fire, held a 
thousand people, while Goderich boasted of 
nearly two thousand inhabitants. From Gait to 
Goderich the road was all mud or corduroy, and 
it was with difficulty Mrs. McDonald held her 
seat in the wagon as it bumped over the roughly 
laid logs. 

"The slow rate at which the journey was 
made may be illustrated by one incident. When 
a short distance on our way, I inadvertently left 
my watch at Black Creek and did not notice the 
loss until four miles further on. I at once 
started back on foot to recover the time-piece, 
the remainder of the family meantime continu- 
ing northwards. After I had secured my watch, 
the stage carrying the mail came along, and 
Imping to join my family more quickly by this 
means, I jumped on board. I soon saw, how- 
ever, that I could walk faster than the stage 
was being driven, and so jumped off again and 


resumed walking, catching up with the others 
on reaching Hunter's Corners, as Seaforth 
was then called. 

'The country was fairly well-settled as far as 
Stratford; but from that place to Goderich the 
clearings were small, and the townships of 
Kinloss, Ashfield, Huron, and Kincardine, while 
mostly taken up, were still covered with forest. 
From Belfast to our new home, a distance of 
eighteen miles, there was no roadway whatever, 
the only guide to the lot being a blaze left by 
surveyors; and over the last twelve miles of 
that blazed trail Mrs. McDonald carried an 
infant in her arms. 

"It was fall when we reached our home in the 
bush and the first winter was spent in making 
a clearing. In spring, after burning the slash 
and putting in a crop, I tramped all the way 
back to Ancaster to earn enough to see the 
family through the following winter, Mrs. 
McDonald and the children meantime spending 
three weary months with the nearest neighbour. 

"In the fall, with my cradle on my back 
(there were no self-binders in those days), I 
tramped home to harvest our own little crop and 
prepare for winter. The purchase of groceries 
necessitated a walk of eight miles each way. 
The Harris mill, twenty-two miles distant, was 
the nearest point at which we could obtain flour, 
and that meant two days in going and coming. 

"For four successive years I spent the winters 
in chopping, the springs in burning and seeding, 
and the summers in working for other farmers 
at 'the front.' Then it seemed as if at last I 
could venture to put in the whole year at home 


with my family. I had seven acres in wheat 
and some other crops as well, and it looked to 
me like the dawn of prosperity. But, just as 
the wheat was ripening, the whole prospect was 
blighted in a single night. Frost came with the 
darkness, and wheat, potatoes, and all else went 
down in one common ruin. 

''Without wheat to harvest, there was no use 
in remaining home any longer; and so once 
more the weary pilgrimage to the front was 
undertaken and fall and winter were spent in 
earning money, not only to carry the family 
through the winter but to buy seed for the fol- 
lowing spring. The set-back left us very nearly 
where we had started, and it was eight long years 
after our first winter in the bush before I was 
able to spend all my time on our own farm. 
Even after that there was constant danger of 
frost and sometimes more or less severe loss 
was sustained. Indeed, it was not until the 
bush fires of the 'sixties burned off the black 
muck on the surface that June frosts ceased to 
be a source of worry. 

"It was not alone the lack of knowledge of 
how to use the woodman's axe that was against 
the emigrants from Scotland when they settled 
in the forest then covering Huron and Bruce," 
continued Mr. McDonald. "Many of the new- 
comers were from the Island of Lewis and had 
been fishermen in the old land. As fishermen 
their periods of labour had been governed by the 
weather. When nature favoured, it had been 
long periods of arduous toil for them, while with 
foul weather came complete cessation from 
labour. The habits these fishermen had inner- 


ited from their forefathers they brought with 
them to the Canadian bush. During inclement 
periods when others were preparing for the fine 
days to come, these would be resting. That, of 
course, militated against success under the 
changed conditions prevailing here. It was mar- 
vellous, though, what these men could endure. I 
remember one of them carrying a hundred- 
weight of flour in a barrel on his back from 
Kincardine. He might just as well have carried 
it in a bag, but he put it in a barrel because the 
barrel was given him. That awkward load he 
carried for fourteen miles through the bush 
simply to add a wooden barrel to his store. At 
the end of the journey, when asked if he was 
tired, he said: 'No, but she'll be a little pit sore 
apoot the back.' 

Mr. McDonald in describing his experiences 
in cleaning wheat, said: "We used a 'wecht' 
for that purpose. This was a sheep-skin with the 
wool removed. The skin was tacked to a 
wooden rim, something like the end of a drum, 
but the skin was slack, not tight. We used this 
as a scoop to lift the grain from the bin 
and then allowed the grain to fall on a sheet 
.laid on the ground, the wind blowing off the 
chaff as the grain fell. One day, when we were 
about out of flour, there was no wind. When a 
breeze came up with the sunset, I began cleaning 
and kept at the work, by the light of the moon, 
until two in the morning. This job followed a 
full day's threshing with the flail; and before 
daylight next morning I was off with my grist 
to the Harris mill, twenty miles away. 

"All the settlers from our section took their 


grain to that mill. The grist was carried on 
jumpers and usually only two or three bags 
were taken at a time. One day was spent in 
going to the mill, the grain was ground at night 
and the return journey made next day. 

"When we took our grist to the mill," Mr. 
McDonald went on, ' ' we spent the night at a log 
tavern while waiting for it to be ground. We 
climbed a ladder in going upstairs to bed, and, 
when in bed, the roof was just above our heads. 
In the morning the ceiling was coated with frost 
where the cold air had come in contact with the 
warm air exhaled from the men's lungs. Our 
cow-hide boots, in which we tramped through 
slush in going to the mill, would also be found 
frozen as hard as bricks, and we had to thaw 
them at the stove before we could put them on." 

Patrick Cummings, when warden of the 
County of Bruce, told me the following story 
of "the religious mill." "The 'religious mill' 
was the Shantz mill at Port Elgin, operated by 
a man named Leader. The miller refused to run 
a minute after tw r elve o'clock on Saturday night. 
On one occasion, during a period of special 
pressure, a helper in the mill proposed to 
run right through the last night in the week 
in order to catch up. A man who happened 
to be present at the time, for a joke on the 
helper, put some wet grain in the hopper as 
the clock was nearing the midnight hour. 
Exactly on the stroke of twelve the wet grain 
struck the stones and the mill stopped dead. 

" 'I told you,' said the joker, 'this was a 
religious mill and would not, under any 
circumstances, run on Sunday. ' 


The miller, his latent superstition aroused, 
was struck with awe and never after that did 
he even think of attempting to run the mill 
on Sundays. 


The family of Hugh Murray, of Underwood, 
moved into Bruce in the " famine year." "It 
was not the freezing of the wheat alone that 
caused suffering among the people," said Mr. 
Murray. "The grasshoppers ate the pea crop 
and squirrels scooped out the potatoes, leaving 
nothing but empty shells. If it had not been 
for the corn and wheat supplied by the Govern- 
ment, I do not know what the settlers of that 
day would have done. 

"Then, when we began to produce again we 
were handicapped by the lack of a market. It 
was a godsend to the new settlement when G. H. 
Coulthard, from near Manilla, started business 
in our section. He bought anything the settlers 
had to sell, but his chief service to the com- 
munity was in establishing a market for ashes 
and cord-wood. What we received for these 
products seemed like 'found money.' 

"But people worked for that 'found money,' 
all right," added Norman Robertson, who at 
the time this story was told was County 
Treasurer of Bruce. "I have seen as many as 
twenty Highland women, in single fyle, on the 
way to the ashery, each carrying a two" bushel 
bag of ashes from the burned fallows. These 
loads were carried as much as six or eight miles 
and the ashes were sold on delivery at two- 


pence per bushel, while cord- wood went at 
seventy-five cents to one dollar per cord." 

In the summer season, the River Saugecn v^is 
made use of by a number of Bruce pioneers in 
reaching the interior of the southern parts o 
that county. Other pioneers, landing at South- 
ampton from lake vessels, made their way up 
the river in canoes. "The current was too 
strong to paddle against," Thomas Bryce of 
Dumblane told me, ' ' and so one man had to walk 
along the shore and pull the canoe with a 
rope while another held the craft off the land 
with a pole. Many went up as far as Paisley, a 
distance of fifteen miles, in this way. My people 
came in the other way. Striking the river at 
Walkerton we built a raft, placed our supplies on 
it, and floated twenty-one miles down stream to 
our destination. Several other families did the 
same. Each family built its own raft, and when 
the journey was completed, the raft was left to 
float at will on down the river." 

Mr. and Mrs. Cook were of those who came in 
by way of Southampton in 1851, and Mrs. Cook 
had with her four children, aged from one to 
eight. "Whatever will you do with these poor 
little chicks up here?" was the first greeting 
she received on landing. It is no wonder 
solicitude for the children was expressed. "The 
shanty to which we went had a bark roof and 
this roof leaked so badly that when it rained 
my husband had to hold an umbrella over us 
when we were in bed," said Mrs. Cook. "The 
floors were made of such lumber as drifted 
ashore from passing vessels. Once, when the 
children were ill, my husband went to Port 


Elgin, five miles away, to get a little milk for 
them. On another occasion a friend brought in 
a chicken all the way from Owen Sound, but 
unfortunately the flesh spoiled with the heat 
during the journey and could not be used." 

Captain McLeod, of Kincardine, in speaking 
of those pioneers who came in by way of Lake 
Huron, said that the passenger rate from 
Goderich to Kincardine was fifty cents and the 
freight rate on goods from Windsor to Kin- 
cardine six dollars per ton. The captain and his 
brother built the first vessel put together at 
Kincardine, a little craft of eight or ten tons. 

"We cut the planks for that craft with a 
whip-saw," the captain told me. "I bought the 
whip-saw in Goderich for five dollars and car- 
ried or trailed it all the way to Kincardine. A 
platform was built on the side of a bank and 
supported by posts. Beneath this platform was 
a pit six or seven feet deep, and, when sawing, 
my brother stood in the pit while he pulled 
down on the saw, and I stood above to pull up. 
After finishing our boat, we cut all the boards 
for flooring, roof, gable ends, and windows for 
a house eighteen feet by twenty-four and got 
a yoke of nine-year-old oxen for our pay. It 
was a fair day's work to cut from two hundred 
and fifty to three hundred feet of lumber in a 
day with a whip-saw, but some days, when 
everything was running well, we got up to 
four hundred." 

John McNab, a son of the first Crown Lands 
Agent for Bruce, gave a vivid description of 
three scenes in the early history of the section. 

"In my youth," said Mr. McNab, "the 



county ended at Southampton on the north, the 
peninsula above that still being in the hands 
of the Indians. Once a year Captain Anderson 
came up from Toronto to distribute annuity 
money among these Indians. His route was by 
rail to Collingwood, boat to Owen Sound, and 
from Owen Sound to Southampton with Indians 


"Beneath the platform was a pit six or seven feet deep, 
and, when sawing, my brother stood in the pit while he 
pulled down on the saw, and I stood above to pull up. ' ' 

who earned his luggage. I have seen as many 
as nine hundred of the red men gathered to 
meet the captain and receive their annuities, 
while the harbour was dotted with small craft, 
owned by traders waiting to exchange their 
goods for the money the Indians were to receive. 
" Later on, when the Indians surrendered 


their lands, these were put up for sale, buyers 
coming from Toronto, and equally distant 
points. In the excitement of the auction some 
wild bidding occurred, the offers in many cases 
being more than the land was worth. Some 
of the purchases were afterwards thrown back 
on the hands of the Government and in other 
cases a reduction in price was made. 

"The crowd that attended the auction of the 
lands in the peninsula was well nigh paralleled 
by a previous rush. Several townships were 
opened for sale in South Bruce in 1854, and in 
September of that year two thousand people 
came into Southampton. They slept in camps 
outside the village; and at night their blazing 
camp fires were like those of a besieging army. 
By day the gathering was like a congress of 
nations. Highlanders, Englishmen, and Ger- 
mans were intermingled; and the Gaelic, Eng- 
lish, and German tongues were heard in the 
different groups. A remarkable thing, both in 
connection with this gathering and the annual 
payment to Indians at an earlier date, was that 
although 011 both occasions whiskey was every- 
where, I did not hear of a single quarrel. 

"Another picturesque scene occurred in the 
spring of the year when the Indians came down 
from Manitoulin to sell their maple sugar. The 
journey was made in mackinaws, open boats 
with a schooner rig; and the sugar was carried in 
mococks, containers made of birch bark each 
holding from twenty to thirty pounds. I am told 
that this sugar eventually found its way to a 
Montreal refinery, from which it emerged at 
last as ordinary commercial brown sugar. 


"After the incoming settlers had located their 
lands, they frequently tramped forty or fifty 
miles in order to make their payments at the 
Crown Land office in Southampton. Not a little 
of the money used in making payments was 
English gold, and this was usually carried in 
belts next the person. Those carrying their 
money in this way would, on arrival, go into a 
room off the office, strip, remove their belts and 
then come back to the office and pay over 
their money." 

A story very similar to that told by Mr. 
McDonald was the one given me about the 
same time by A. Livingstone, who was then 
living a little west of the town of Durham, in 
the neighbouring county of Grey. When Mr. 
Livingstone moved to his new home from 
Toronto in the late 'fifties, it was necessary to 
make the journey in winter because roads were 
impassable in summer. "Orangeville at that 
time consisted of a store, one of two taverns, 
and a few houses," said Mr. Livingstone. 
'There was a fair road from Orangeville to 
Durham, but from the latter place there was 
nothing but a 'blaze' to mark the road to the 
lot I had selected, four miles west. Our nearest 
neighbour was three miles off in the bush; and, 
although a little milling was then done in 
Durham, most of the wheat grown in our town- 
ship was taken to Guelph, fifty miles away, to 
be ground. 

'The first spring after our arrival, we planted 
potatoes in the little clearing made during 
winter, and then I and my two brothers 
walked down to Vaughan to earn money with 


which to buy supplies for the following winter. 
It took us three days to cover the distance. In 
the second spring, we had nearly fifteen acres 
ready for crop, and after putting this in oats, 
barley, and potatoes we once more proceeded 
south to spend the summer in Vaughan. This 
practice continued for three or four years, but 
after that we were able to spend all our time 
at home." 

Hardships were not, however, at an end even 
then. Durham Road, now one of the finest high- 
ways in the province, was at that time mud 
and corduroy. "In the spring," said Mrs. 
Brigham, a neighbour of the Livingstones, "the 
logs were frequently afloat in the water, and in 
passing over a place like that we had to jump 
from one log to another. There was no bridge 
over the Saugeen west of Durham, but a tree 
which had fallen across the stream afforded a 
reasonably safe passage for people on foot." 
The first team of horses was taken in by William 
Hopps, the year after the Livingstones arrived. 
For the first few years, however, some of the 
settlers did not even have oxen, and all the 
operations on bush farms, from logging to har- 
vesting, were performed by hand. 

"In the beginning, too," Mr. Livingstone 
said, "our buying and selling was all done 
locally, incoming settlers providing a market 
for the surplus produced by those who had gone 
in ahead. Where marketing was confined to 
such narrow limits, there was bound to be a glut 
at one time with a shortage at another. When 
there was a surplus our produce went for a song; 
when there was scarcity famine prices prevailed. 



One summer when flour went up to nine 
and ten dollars per barrel, people who could not 
pay the price were obliged to use corn-meal. 
Even corn-meal was almost beyond the reach of 
those, who, to buy food, worked on the road at 
seventy-five cents per day and boarded them- 
selves. Many, indeed, were obliged to mortgage 
their farms and all their belongings. In not a 
few cases mortgages were foreclosed and fam- 
ilies after years of toil were forced to move 

l> mKx6X'mmm\ 




: Blankets were taken to the creek, put in tubs of water and 
trodden upon until they were clean." 


One of the all too few cases in which descen- 
dants of those who cleared the forest still remain 
on the old homestead, is found on lot thirty-one 
on the third of Uxbridge. There J. W. Widdi- 
field, M.P.P., represents the fifth generation on 
land granted by the Crown in 1806. Even here, 
however, possession has not descended along the 
male line, the first owner of the place having 
been Charles Chapman, the great-great-grand- 
father of Mr. Widdifield on the maternal side. 

Charles Chapman left Bucks County, Penn- 
sylvania, in the first decade of the last century. 
He traversed the comparative wilderness of 
Western Pennsylvania and New York, crossed 
the Niagara River, and, following the Hamilton- 
Queenston highway, Dundas Road, and Yonge 
Street, finally passed over the old " Uxbridge 
Trail," to lay the foundation of a new home 
near the banks of a stream in the midst of 
the forest primeval then covering Uxbridge 

Mr. Chapman was a member of one of the 
many families of Quakers who came from the 
New England States to what was then Upper 
Canada and whose descendants are found in 
Whitchurch, Uxbridge, Markham, Pickering, 
and neighbouring townships to-day. These fam- 



ilies included the Lundys, James, Kesters, 
Goulds, Doans, Wilsons, Haines, and Widdi- 
fields. The Widdifields came from New Jersey, 
but the majority of the others were from 

Mr. J. W. Widdifield, descended from the 
Chapmans on one side and the Widdifields on 
the other, holds as the most prized among his 
collection of relics of the early days the original 
deed granted to his great-great-grandfather 
Chapman. And a quaint document it is, the wax 
seal being almost as large as a saucer; and the 
document itself, written on parchment, is as 
legible as the day on which it was signed by 
Alexander Grant, President and Administrator 
of the Government of Upper Canada, and Peter 

The original deed was for two hundred acres, 
and in addition to the land, it covered, "all woods 
and waters thereon," and "all mines of gold and 
silver." But there were two notable reserva- 
tions. All the white pine then growing on the 
place, and all of the same timber that might 
thereafter grow thereon, was reserved for King 
George III. and his descendants. The other 
reservation provided that in case the land was 
disposed of by sale, will, or otherwise, the new 
owner must within twelve months thereafter 
take the required "oath or affirmation of 
allegiance, etc.," otherwise the grant was to be 
null and void and the property was to be 
vested in the Crown as if never granted. 

The first of these reservations at least lias a 
peculiar interest for Mr. T. B. Prankish, of 
Toronto, an uncle of the Mr. Widdifield of 


to-day, and owner of half the original two 
hundred acres, because he is one of the few men 
in Ontario who has done real forestry work on 
his own farm. Mr. Prankish has planted some 
thousands of pine trees on his holding. Many 
of these young pines are Scotch and therefore 
exempt from claim by the Crown. But many 
are of the white variety and thus come within 
the reservation noted. Mr. Frankish has, there- 
fore, performed a very special service for the 
King as well as his country by his planting 

There is, apparently, no record in the deed of 
any monetary payment to the Crown for the 
land allotted, but the deed did require the 
erection thereon of "a good and sufficient dwell- 
ing " and residence for the space of at least 
one year. 

There is on the Widdifield homestead another 
memorial of the early days. This is part of the 
old "Uxbridge Trail "that once wound across 
lots from where the town of Uxbridge now 
stands to Yonge Street the weary road that 
early settlers followed with ox-teams on their 
way to and from market in Toronto. This 
trail to-day forms part of a lane leading from 
the Widdifield residence to a pond that, up 
to a few years ago, furnished a reservoir of 
power for one of the pioneer saw-mills of 
the district. 

There is an interesting story connected with 
this old mill. "At one time," said Mr. Widdi- 
field, "there were thirteen cottages surrounding 
the mill site and the occupants of these cottages 
worked in three eight-hour shifts in the mill, 


that ran day and night for six days in the week. 
Most of the cottagers owned their homes, but 
as the mill business fell off the cottagers dis- 
appeared and the property reverted back into 
the hands of the family. ' ' 

To-day, not a cottage is left on the site. Some 
collapsed and disappeared; others were removed 
elsewhere to serve for other purposes; and of 
the mill itself all that remains is part of the roof 
lying prone on the land, and part of the dam 
at the mill site. At the other end of the dam 
there can still be seen part of the log bridge 
that formed a crossing-place on the Uxbridge 

The pond itself is still twenty feet deep in 
places, but the creek flowing from it is little 
more than a reminder of what it once was. 
"During my father's lifetime," said Mr. 
Widdifield, "the creek dwindled to one-third 
the volume it had when my father first knew 
it." The stream and pond are on the Fraiikish 
side of the two hundred acres and Mr. Frankish 
has turned these into a fishing preserve. 

Among the other memorials of the early days 
in Mr. Widdifield 's possession is the minute and 
account book of the first school in the neighbour- 
hood." The school building was erected just- 
across the way from the Widdifield home. This 
school was built in the fall of 1853, and the box 
stove used in it cost four pounds Halifax 
currency. Three elbows cost fifteen shillings 
and three-pence; and fifteen length of pipe, ten- 
pence each. One hundred and twenty cut nails 
were bought at one pound and five shillings. The 
first teacher, Rachel James, holder of a third- 


class certificate, was engaged at the magnifi- 
cent salary of two pounds, twelve shillings and 
six-pence per month for six months, the salary 
to be paid at the expiration of each month. But 
the high cost of living soon began to make itself 
felt even in those days; and Maria Bently, the 
second teacher, was paid two pounds and fifteen 
shillings for the first three months, three pounds 
for the next three months, and three pounds and 
five shillings for the last six months. In 1854 
Sarah Jane Blanding was taken on at nineteen 
pounds and ten shillings for half a year. 

At the beginning, the funds for the payment 
of the salaries of the teachers were raised by 
public grant, by general assessment on the sec- 
tion, and by fees paid by each pupil. In the first 
year of the school's history, the largest sum in 
fees was paid by Mr. Sherman seven shillings 
and six-pence; and the lowest by Mr. Simerson 
two shillings and six-pence. In the second 
year of the school's history, James Allcock 
moved that the fee per pupil be one shilling and 
three-pence for the year, Albert Bently moving 
an amendment that it be one shilling and three- 
pence per quarter. A compromise was affected 
on motion of Simon Allcock making the fee two 
shillings and six-pence per year. 

On November 25th, 1854, it was proposed 
to split the section and hold school in each 
half for six months "to give children in more 
remote parts of the section a chance." Another 
motion considered was to exempt from fees chil- 
dren who lived over two and a half miles from 
the school. 

As the settlement progressed, more liberal 


ideas in regard to education began to make way ; 
and, in 1885, Albert Bentley moved that fees be 
abolished and the school made free. This motion 
was lost, but a like motion by Mr. Bentley a year 
later was carried, and education has been 
free ever since. 

But if that old mill and the still older Uxbridge 
trail could only speak, what stories they could 
tell of the majestic pines in which the night 
winds sang their lullabies, of the musical hum 
of the saws making lumber for the settlers' 
dwellings, and of the heavy climbs by weary 
oxen over steep hills on the winding road lead- 
ing to Yonge Street and Muddy York beyond. 


Here is another case of a farm being in 
possession of the same family continuously 
since the early days of Ontario, and in the male 
line at that, the present owner being the Honour- 
able Manning Doherty, Minister of Agriculture 
for the province. 

A peculiar circumstance, showing how much 
there is in luck after all, was connected with 
the choice of location made by Bernard Doherty, 
the great-grandfather of the minister of to-day. 
When the first of the family arrived at Muddy 
York in 1812, he was offered a "farm" on the 
land now bounded by Queen, Yonge, Univer- 
sity Avenue, and College Street, in the City of 
Toronto. But this location, now in the very 
heart of a city of over half a million people, 
was scornfully rejected as being too low and wet 
to be suitable for agricultural purposes. Instead 


of accepting this property Mr. Doherty went 
out to the vicinity of what is now Dixie, in the 
County of Peel, where five hundred acres were 
taken up. Three hundred of the total are 
owned and operated by the great-grandson of 
the original owner. For nine years over the 
even century the title deeds of that property 
have continuously carried the Doherty name. 

Although the first of the Dohertys arrived in 
Canada in 1812, permanent location was not 
made until three years later. The necessity of 
returning to Ireland to wind up affairs there 
caused the delay. When Bernard Doherty 
reached Quebec in 1815, he learned of the 
Battle of Waterloo and of the final col- 
lapse of the power of Napoleon an incident 
that provides a graphic mental picture of the 
time that has elapsed since the Doherty home- 
stead at Dixie was established. 

An interesting light was thrown on the con- 
ditions that existed a little over a century ago 
in the metropolitan district of which Toronto is 
now the centre by one statement made by Mr. 
Manning Doherty, in February, 1916, when dis- 
cussing early days. 

" After the first crop of wheat had been har- 
vested on the place," Mr. Doherty said, "my 
great-grandfather took a couple of bags on 
horseback to be ground at the old mill on the 
Humber. There was no paved highway to 
Toronto in those days, and the journey was 
made over a blazed trail through the original 
forest. For many years after that all the grain 
crops were cut with a sickle, and when in the 
time of my grandfather the first cradle was 


introduced, it was thought that the last word 
had been pronounced in labour-saving imple- 

In the same field in which this cradle was 
used, the Doherty of to-day plowed with a 
tractor in the fall of 1917, while overhead airmen 
were circling about in training for that great 
conflict in which the empires of the Hohen- 
zollerns and Hapsburgs were to be finally forced 
into oblivion with the empire of Napoleon. 


The stone house begins to take the place of the log cabin. 
"The walls are of stone and 24 inches through. The timber 
was 13 inches square, of white pine, without a blemish." 

"The first house on the place," Mr. Doherty 
went on, as he continued the story of the early 
days, "was of logs and was still standing when 
the rebellion of 1837 occurred. There was a 
huge hearthstone in front of the open fire-place, 
and this was taken up and a hole dug beneath 
in which all the money in the house, put 
into a covered pail, was buried until the 


trouble was over. Nor was this precaution 
without reason. When William Lyon Macken- 
zie was fleeing from Toronto to the bor- 
der after the collapse of his forces, my grand- 
father drove him from Willcock's Farm at Dixie 
on Dundas Street, as far west as the Sixteen 
Mile Creek. Had this been generally known at 
the time it might have had serious consequences 
for my grandfather. A new house was built in 
1844, the w r alls being of stone and twenty-four 
inches through. A few years ago, when some 
improvements were being made, an old sill was 
removed. The timber was thirteen inches 
square, of white pine, without a blemish; and, 
although it had been in place for three-quarters 
of a century, the wood was still as sound as 
when cut from the surrounding forest. ' ' 

Of corresponding interest is the story of the 
Morrisons, who came from the county of Long- 
ford in Ireland to what was then the wilderness 
of the township of Peel in the county of 
Wellington. Three months with no stops by 
the way was the experience of Robert Morrison, 
father of J. J. Morrison, the moving spirit of the 
IT.F.O. movement to-day. 

The weary pilgrimage of the first Morrison 
began, in 1845, with a tramp from the ancestral 
home in Longford to Dublin, this being followed 
by a tempestuous voyage in a small sailing craft 
to Liverpool. Between Liverpool and Quebec 
six weeks were spent, and then the real hard- 
ships of the journey began. From Montreal to 
Kingston by way of what is now Ottawa, the 
only means of travel available at that time were 
open boats, drawn by horses walking on the 


bank when the rapids were reached; boats in 
which people sat huddled in discomfort during 
the day, and that we're almost unbearable when 
sleep and rest were sought with the coming 
of night. 

Nor did relief come even when the long water 
journey ended at Hamilton. Rather was it 
merely a change from one form of hardship to 
another. From Hamilton to Guelph, passage 
was taken by stage which followed the circuit- 
ous route through Gait and Preston, over 
roads on which the jolting of the rude vehicle 
jarred and rocked muscles cramped and stiffened 
by the narrow quarters of the old Durham boats 
on the St. Lawrence. The pilgrimage ended, as 
it began, on foot. From Guelph, then a mere 
hamlet, it was a case of tramping over mud or 
corduroy roads, and finally a mere trail, to the 
location selected on lot eighteen, concession 
thirteen of Peel. 

"We of the present," said Mr. J. J. Morrison 
in telling the story, "can form but the faintest 
conception of all that was involved of physical 
suffering and mental anguish in the coming to 
this country of those who arrived here from the 
British Isles in the 'thirties, 'forties' and 'fifties 
of the last century. All the associations of home 
and childhood were forever left behind. The 
conditions endured in crowded and unsanitary 
sailing vessels, and the perils faced, were such 
as those who travel by the palatial ocean liners 
of to-day cannot possibly visualize. The exper- 
iences after arrival were even more trying than 
those borne during the weary journey across 
the sea and by inland waterways. The neigh- 


boui's in the new land, where there were 
any, were all strange; skill in the use of 
the tools required in building homes, clearing 
the forest, and cultivating the newly cleared 
fields had to be gained slowly and painfully 
by experience. Stalwart of frame, firm of 
purpose, and possessed of patience inexhaust- 
ible, these pioneers must have been, otherwise 
they would either have fallen by the wayside 
during the migration or have perished amid the 
loneliness of the forest after their arrival. ' ' 


Of all the counties over which I passed 
awheel in the last year of the old century, I do 
not recall one which presented a more interest- 
ing field of study, where the virtues of hos- 
pitality and good neighbourhood were more man- 
ifest, or where there was better evidence of 
a quiet, but genuinely religious sentiment per- 
vading the community, than Haldimand. 

The county was interesting as a demonstra- 
tion of the work that is going on more or less 
all over Canada hi the building of a new nation 
out of varied elements. Nowhere else, in rural 
Ontario at least, have people of so many differ- 
ent races been thrown together within so narrow 
a circle. In Rainham, for example, the northern 
half of the township was at the time of my visit 
practically solidly German, while English and 
Pennsylvania Dutch divided the remainder of 
the township fairly evenly between them, with a 
slight scattering all over of " Canadians" and 
Irish. The neighbouring township of Walpole 


was fairly solidly English, but in all parts of the 
county the three chief elements named were 
more or less mixed. At the beginning, the dif- 
ferent races were divided in language and in 
sentiment. The Pennsylvania immigrants of the 
first generation spoke Dutch, those from Ger- 
many conversed in German, and those from the 
British Isles in English. To the first, "Home" 
or "the Old Country" meant Pennsylvania; 
to the second, the words spelled Germany; 
to the third, they carried memories of the hedge- 
rows and ivy-clad towers of rural England. 
But a change had come as far back as twenty 
years ago. Even in that part of Rainham 
then known as "Little Germany," English 
was becoming the language of the people. 
"Although," said Nicholas Reicheld, one of the 
first settlers in the section, "English is taught 
only half a day at school, it is hi English that 
the children converse when going to and from 
school." All over the county, while among the 
older people German or Dutch could still be 
heard at that time, English was practically the 
universal tongue among those of the third 
generation; and a common tongue was creating 
a common Canadian citizenship. 

Mr. Reicheld was born in Lorraine in 1833, 
thirty-seven years before that province was lost 
to France as a result of the war of 1870. 
Although a German, as his name indicates, and 
also Protestant, Mr. Reicheld preferred French 
to German rule. "True, French was the official 
language," he said, "but in the home we spoke 
in whatever tongue we liked and there was less 
of police rule and less of irksome taxation under 


France than there was afterwards under 
Germany. After the province passed under 
German control in 1870, there was a considerable 
German emigration therefrom, some of these 
emigrants going to the township of Hay, in 

The German emigration to Lincoln, Welland, 
Haldimand and Waterloo began in the 'thirties 
of the past century, about the same time that 
the emigration from the British Isles assumed 
considerable volume. At the commencement 
this German emigration was purely the result 
of chance. One or two came and found this a 
goodly land, and others followed. F. L. Beck, 
and his brother, for instance, came over because 
of what they had heard from friends in Lincoln. 
The first of the Schneiders, on returning to 
Germany after having been in Haldimand, told 
the young men he met that in the three years 
they expected to spend in the German army, 
they could earn the price of a farm in Canada. 
Schneider narrowly escaped a German jail for 
saying this, but as a result of his statement 
Nicholas Schneider and half a hundred others 
from the old home came to Canada in the 
'thirties. The collapse of the democratic 
uprising in Europe, which occurred in 1848, gave 
a still further impetus to the movement. These 
emigrants from the Continent, like those from 
the British Isles, came here hoping to find a land 
in which they might escape the grinding burdens 
due to old wars, and the danger of new wars, 
and where each might hope to enjoy in peace 
the fruit of his own toil. 

"At frequent intervals during the year," Mr. 


Beck stated, "a constable went through our 
village ringing the bell to remind the people 
that a tax of some kind was about due." The 
burden of taxation and the general social and 
political conditions under the non-democratic 
governments of the time, were among the impel- 
ling motives that drove people across the seas. 

Those from the Continent came under a 
greater handicap than immigrants from the 
British Isles. Everything was strange for them, 
even the language of the new country. "When 
we landed at New York, sixty-five days out from 
Bremen, we hardly knew a word of English," 
F. L. Beck told me, and without a trace of 
foreign accent in the telling. "But I started in 
to learn as soon as I came. I asked the name of 
this article and that in English until I learned 
to speak it myself. I learned to read English 
from the New Testament." 

The first steady job Mr. Beck obtained after 
arrival was when he hired out on a farm at sixty 
dollars a year. In one winter, shortly after 
coming, he and his brother took contracts to 
thresh grain with a flail, their rate of pay being 
every ninth bushel when they boarded them- 
selves and every tenth when they were supplied 
with board. Eventually Mr. Beck settled down 
on lot fourteen on the sixth of South Cayuga. 

"There were plenty of wild animals there 
then," said Mr. Beck. ""Once, when my brother- 
in-law, Schneider, was hunting his cattle he was 
attacked by wolves. He fired at one and as the 
charge was of light shot, this simply made the 
brutes more angry. Using his gun as a club, 
he retreated towards the clearing; but the 


animals were not beaten off until fiiends came 
to Schneider's assistance. I have no doubt that 
if one of the wolves had got hold of his clothes 
he would have been dragged down and killed." 

Mr. Beck told of an amusing incident con- 
nected with Mackenzie's candidature for Haldi- 
mand in 1815, after his return to Canada. 
" Mackenzie stopped at our place once during 
the campaign and held a meeting in the school- 
house on the corner of our lot," said Mr. Beck. 
" There was no disturbance ; but at the conclusion 
of the address a number of questions were asked, 
for all of which the speaker had ready answers. 
Asked by a Conservative if he had not run away 
after the affair at Montgomery's Tavern, 
Mackenzie said: "I did, and if you had seen me 
on the back of the black mare you would have 
said I was making mighty good time, too." 

The American Civil War and the old 
Reciprocity Treaty combined brought great 
prosperity to the farmers of Haldimand. 
Wages were low and farm products were high. 
" Labour was cheap," said Mr. Beck, " because 
the country was full of bounty jumpers and of 
'skedaddlers' who had run away to escape the 
draft for the Northern armies. There was no 
trouble in getting one of these for ten dollars per 
month. Some ingenious methods were devised 
in getting these runaways across the border. 
One woman brought her husband over hi a box, 
which, according to the shipping bill, contained 
a breeding hog. 

"The country was full of American buyers. 
I have seen these men bring over two or three 
shot bags filled with corn. In going back the 


bags were empty, but in exchange there were 
from fifty to four hundred sheep in a drove. 
Twenty dollar American gold pieces were 
common, and cows that had been selling around 
eighteen dollars jumped to forty dollars, a big 
price for that time." 

Nicholas Schneider, who came over about the 
same time as the first of the Becks, in speaking 
of the voyage across the Atlantic said; "The 
passengers, of whom there were two hundred on 
board, had to provide their own food for use on 
the voyage. Our party made such full provision 
that we had tAvo bags of biscuits left when we 
reached New York, and we had cured German 
beef and pork, as well as butter, after we 
reached Rainham. The butter had been cooked 
and put in sealers before leaving and it kept in 
perfect condition all the way across. 

4 'In one respect those who settled in Haldi- 
mand in the 'thirties were fortunate. Being near 
the front and near water communication the tim- 
ber on their lands had at least some value. "The 
land cost four dollars an acre," said Mr. 
Schneider, "and the timber we sold paid for a 
good deal of this. The old people never became 
expert with the axe, but the young men were 
as skilful as the best after a month in the woods. 
In our first winter here, four of us, from sixteen 
to twenty-two years of age, chopped sixteen 
acres. In the following summer we logged and 
burned eleven acres and sowed it in fall wheat." 

One of the greatest hardships borne by the 
first German settlers was in maintaining their 
religious services. In all sections of the prov- 
ince such difficulties were met with, but in the 


case of the little German communities they 
were felt with especial severity, because, to the 
scattered nature of settlement was added the 
language problem. Nowhere was more unselfish 
service shown in meeting a difficult situation. 

"Our first Evangelical minister was Mr. Ice; 
and his. field extended all the way from Buffalo 
to Cayuga and from Cayuga to Delhi forty miles 
further on," said Mr. Beck. "Still, services 
were held once a fortnight, with twenty to thirty 
people present. For the quarterly meetings 
people came long distances on horseback, 
and these services lasted through Saturday and 
Sunday. One of the most powerful and con- 
vincing preachers we ever had was Mr. 
Schneider. He kept up his work for many 
years, frequently travelling forty miles to keep 
appointments, and for all this he never received 
a dollar save during three years when he gave 
his whole time to the church." 

"But," said Mr. Schneider, very simply, 
when I saw him later, "there were little flocks 
here and there without a shepherd and I thought 
it my duty to serve them." 

In the Evangelical cemetery at Fry's Cor- 
ners, on the Dunnville-Port Dover Road, one 
may see evidence of the fact that, as eyes were 
closing in death, thoughts turned to the place 
where the light of day was first seen and the 
mother's love song was first heard. In this 
Haldimand God's Acre, where lie the Kohlers, 
Becks, Schwanzers, and Schmidts, was seen 
one of the most remarkable instances of marital 
constancy I have met with anywhere. On one 
tombstone was recorded the fact that the wife 


of Peter Zimmerman had died October 9th, 
1879. Above this was lettered the name of 
Peter himself with a blank on which to record 
the date of his death a blank that was still 
unfilled twenty-one years later. Another 
evidence of the strength of the family tie among 
the German folk of Haldimand is seen in the 
practice, commonly followed, of setting a plate 
and chair at the family table for the father or 
the mother who has passed away. 


Time and again, when collecting the material 
for these sketches, I was amazed by statements 
showing how great a transformation had 
occurred in the life of two generations, and even 
of one generation. I cannot, however, recall an 
instance in which I was more impressed in this 
way than when in the vicinity of Stratford in 
1918. In the morning of a June day I called 
on the Honourable Nelson Monteith, within four 
miles of the city, and he told me that his father 
had been treed by wolves on the road over 
which I had passed amid farms on which there 
were hardly enough trees to shelter a squirrel. 
I was still more surprised, later on in that same 
day, when I met one who remembered when 
Stratford itself was scarcely a wayside village. 
This was George McCallum, of North Easthope. 

"When I first came here," Mr. McCallum 
said, "Stratford consisted of a dozen houses, 
two taverns and a flour-mill. Almost the entire 
country surrounding the future city was covered 
with bush; and real bush it was. On our own 


place there were maples four feet in diameter 
and rock elm, seven feet. The cutting down of 
these trees and burning of logs and bush did not 
by any means end the labour of clearing the 
ground. The great stumps, in many cases forty 
of them to the acre, still remained. I have seen 
three successive grain crops produced among 
such stumps without the aid of a plow, the seed 
being covered with hoes in the hands of children. 
In the beginning, wheat, produced under such 
circumstances, had to be hauled all the way to 
Gait to be ground. This was before a grist-mill 
had been built in Stratford. I have seen wheat 
sold in New Hamburg at sixty cents per bushel, 
and a third of that in trade. Frosted or rusted 
wheat could be disposed of only to distilleries. 
There were two of these on the third concession 
at that time, and their output sold at twenty 
cents a gallon. 

"Although timber was so abundant, the work 
of preparing it for building purposes was 
exceedingly onerous. We had to haul logs four- 
teen miles to Wilmot's Centre to be sawn. 
There were at that time three saw mills on 
Cedar Creek within a quarter of a mile of each 
other; but all trace of these, save part of one 
of the dams, has since disappeared. 

" These old-time saw-mills were very crude 
affairs, 'up-and-down' saws being used. The 
logs were not cut right through to the end in 
sawing, a foot or so being left uncut for the 
'dog' to hold on by. When the work of sawing 
a log was finished the 'dog' was loosened and 
the uncut section at the end was finished by 
splitting with an axe. This split end of the 


boards was called the 'stub-shot,' and was 
thrown in free of charge by the mill-owner. 
All the rough edging, suitable for roofing, one 
could pile on a sleigh could be had for a dollar. 
The choice lumber was choice. I have seen 
boards sixteen feet long and three feet wide 
without a blemish. 

"Another little cross-roads village in the 
neighbourhood of the saw-mills was called 
'Shingle ton,' so named because shingles were 
made there. The shingles were split by hand 
from huge pine blocks, this work being done in 
winter by men who worked as carpenters 
in summer. 

"Almost everything was home-made. Wool 
clipped from sheep on the farm, was carded at 
New Hamburg, Baden, or Haysville; and Ger- 
man weavers, to be found in every neighbour- 
hood, wove it into cloth. Woolen shirts, the only 
kind known at that time, were likewise home- 
made. Clothing of this kind could hardly be 
worn out. Leather, in those days, was real 
leather. Hand-made top boots, costing two dol- 
lars and a half to three dollars per pair, would 
outlast two or three pairs of to-day, and the tugs 
of our first set of harness are still in use." 

The first boom for settlers in South Perth 
came with the Crimean War, when wheat went 
up to two dollars and a half per bushel and 
dressed pork to eight dollars per hundred- 
weight. But this "prosperity," like that exper- 
ienced during the late war, was fictitious and 
was soon followed by a period of depression. 

"The first genuine prosperity came, with 
the inauguration of modern dairying," said 




"Almost everything was Home-made." 


Mr. McCallum. "The township of Elma 
was, in the early days, ill-adapted to grain 
growing, and at one time the mortgages on 
the township are said to have exceeded the value 


of all the property therein. To-day Elma is one 
of the most prosperous townships in Ontario, 
dairying having wrought the change." 


. . 

! I can remember," said William Allan, of 
Churchill, "when taverns were to be found at 
almost every corner of the Penetang' Road 
between the town-line at the lower end of Innis- 
fil and the north end of the township. There 
was one at Croxon's Corners, at the town-line; 
one at Cherry Creek; two at Churchill, on the 
fourth; one at the fifth; one at the seventh; two 
at Stroud; one at the twelfth; and one at Pains- 
wick, on the thirteenth. These were all along 
the leading road in the township. Others were 
scattered here and there, at other corners, off 
the main highway. 

"The drinking habits of the people were in 
keeping with the number of taverns from which 
liquor was supplied. Fighting was a natural 
consequence of this excessive drinking. Liquor 
flowed with special freedom during elections, 
and fists and sticks formed the ultimate argu- 
ment in the political controversies of the day. 
Nor were elections the only cause of quarrels. 
An incident of an international character once 
occurred at the old Tyrone tavern at the corner 
of the fifth. An American lumber firm (the 
Dodge) was engaged in cutting pine from our 
old place for the mill that was then in oper- 
ation at Belle Ewart. The firm had a number 



of Americans in its employment and one night a 
fight began at the tavern between the Amer- 
icans and a number of Canadians. The former 
soon got the worst of it and were driven for 
shelter to their camp across the way. There 
was one negro in the American party, and he 
came in for some of the hardest knocks. People 
say that after the scrap was over, it was hardly 
possible to tell which was his face and which 
was the back of his head. If a white man had 
received such a pounding, his head would have 
been reduced to a pulp. A few years ago when 
Wightman Goodf ellow tore down the old tavern, 
bloodstains, resulting from this and other 
fighting, could still be seen on the walls. 

" Churchill, known in the early days as Bully's 
Acre, was another great place for fighting. At 
the old show-fairs you might see a scrap at any 
time you chose to turn your head in the direction 
from which the noise was coming. There is, 
by the way, an interesting story of the manner 
in which Churchill got its name. The first church 
in the neighbourhood was at the sixth line. A 
tavern-keeper located on the same corner and 
named his place * Church Hill Tavern. ' Believing 
the fourth line corners a better location he later 
on moved there and carried his sign with him, 
and thus the name * Churchill' Avas transferred 
from the sixth to the fouth. 

"Nor was the consumption of liquor confined 
to taverns. At almost every store a pail of 
liquor and a cup stood on the counter and all 
comers were at liberty to help themselves. No 
logging-bee could be held without an abundant 
supply of the same sort of refreshment, and. 


after the bee was over, men fought or danced 
as fancy moved them provided they were not 
by that time too drunk to do either. 

" Where did the money come from to pay for 
all the liquor consumed'? It came from the 
sweat-stained dollars that should have gone to 
the creation of homes; women were robbed of 
their due, and children of their heritage, that 
liquor sellers might wax fat. I have been told 
that the man who kept the old Tyrone tavern at 
the fifth, was able to supply his boys with two 
or three watches each from among those that 
had been left in pawn for liquor. Nor was this 
all. Many a good farm was drunk up over the 
bar in the old days and the owners and their 
children were forced to begin life over again in 
a new location." 


"When I was a young man," said Neil 
McDougall, who has already been quoted, "it 
was considered the proper thing to call one's 
companions up for a drink whenever a bar was 
reached, and there was then a bar at almost 
every cross-roads. The man who did not take 
his liquor was looked upon as a milk-sop." 

"There was a recognized rule in connection 
with early drinking customs," J. S. McDonald, 
who has also been previously quoted, added. 
"At loggings the rule was a gallon of whiskey 
for each yoke of oxen at the bee. Of course, the 
whiskey was not all consumed at the bee. The 
supply lasted until well into the night, when 
dancing succeeded the labours of the day. Still, 

with all the drinking, I do not remember seeing 
any one very drunk." 

"But if the men did not get drunk they some- 
times quarrelled," interjected William Welsh. 
" At one logging, which I attended on the first of 
Huron in 1863, two men quarrelled over a race 
between their oxen in getting the logs together. 
The angry discussion continued while the men 
were in the field and was resumed at the supper 
table, where the two sat opposite each other. 
The quarrel reached its culmination when one, 
rising to his feet, struck the other full in the 
face. In a moment the table was overturned, 
dishes and victuals were on the floor, and the 
two men were fighting back and forth among 
the wreckage. 

"Even some of the ministers opposed the 
temperance cause in those days," Mr. Welsh 
continued. "One of the first to introduce a 
change was the Rev. Alexander Sutherland, a 
Presbyterian divine, who came into the Queen's 
Bush in the 'seventies. This minister not only 
preached temperance to the men in their homes 
but he went to the bars and induced men sodden 
with liquor to go home and sober up. In 1864, a 
young Methodist missionary, either Marshall or 
Maxwell by name, formed the first temperance 
lodge, at a place that was then known as 
Starvation, but is now Pine River. The influ- 
ence of these two men was simply amazing. It 
was largely as a result of their efforts that a 
community once much given to drunkenness, is 
now noted for its sobriety." 

Others of those interviewed gave much of 
the credit for the change to the children of the 


pioneers. These, seeing the evils of drunken- 
ness in their elders, were read} r converts to the 
gospel preached by devoted clergymen such as 
the Presbyterian and Methodist ministers 
named above. 

German settlements were formed in Bruce 
about the same time that the Scotch pioneers 
settled there. Fifty years later these German 
communities were, in the matter of social cus- 
toms, much the same as they were at the begin- 
ning. Even in the earliest days they were not 
given to excessive drinking. Neither did they 
later on abandon drinking altogether. Beer was 
to them what whiskey was to the Scotch, and 
men do not get drunk on beer taken as a 
beverage like tea. In these German commun- 
ities, the evils of drunkenness not having been 
witnessed, the cause of total abstinence did not 
make headway later on; and, until prohibition 
came, those of the second generation continued 
to use beer as their fathers and grandfathers 
had used it before them. 

Bruce and North Simcoe did not hold any 
pre-eminence in the number of drinking places 
in the pioneer period. Twenty years ago John 
Langstaff told me that he remembered no fewer 
than fifty-eight taverns on Yonge Street, or 
nearly two per mile. Eleven of these were 
inside what, in 1900, were the city limits. About 
Thornhill and Richmond Hill the country was 
cluttered with drinking places, and Bond Lake, 
Wilcox Lake, and the Pinnacle had one each. 
Their numbers thinned out towards Holland 
Landing, but at "The Landing" itself there 
were three. The greatest development of the 


Yonge Street tavern trade occurred between 
1837 and 1847. With the opening of the North- 
ern Railway, and consequent falling off hi traffic 
by road, a decline set in. 

"While the tavern-keepers prospered the dis- 
tilling interest prospered as well," said Mr. 
Langstaff, "and at one time I could count the 
sites of no fewer than nine distilleries between 
Toronto and Richmond Hill. A distillery was 
not a very elaborate affair in those days, 
a roof, a few round logs, and some tubs being 
about all that was called for in the way of equip- 
ment. The most important consideration was a 
good spring, and a farm that had such was con- 
sidered a favourable site for a distillery." 

One of the first of the old taverns was built 
at Elgin Mills. There, lot fifty-one was taken 
up by Bolsar Munshall in 1793, and twenty-five 
years later Aaron Munshall established a tavern 
on the place. A daughter of the first Munshall 
married a man named Wright, and theirs was 
the first white child born north of Toronto. 

The best known of these old hostelries," said 
Mr. Langstaff, "was of course, Montgomery's 
Tavern. Montgomery, on being pardoned for 
his part in the rebellion, afterwards established 
the Franklin House in Toronto and died in 
Barrie in his eightieth year. Another famous 
place was the old Red Lion. Polling was held 
at the Lion in the election of 1832, following 
Mackenzie's expulsion from the Legislature in 
1831. Forty sleighs escorted Mackenzie to the 
poling place, and in the first hour and a half 
one hundred and nineteen votes were cast for 
him to one for Street, his opponent, and then the 


latter 'threw up the sponge.' On lot thirty-five, 
north of Thornhill, was the Yorkshire House, 
and connected with this was a mile race track." 
The humorous side of old-time drinking cus- 
toms has been referred to more than once. Let 
Mr. Langstafd tell something of the tragic side : 
"A stranger," said he "disappeared from one 
of the old Yonge Street taverns at which he had 
been stopping. Four young men were sus- 
pected of murdering him, but, in the absence 
of proof, no arrests were made. Two of the 
suspects, however, afterwards committed suicide 
by hanging. A number of idlers were spending 
the day in a bar-room, and one offered to 
treat the crowd if another of the party would go 
across the street and put a certain question to 
a man standing there. The wager was accepted, 
but no sooner was the question put than a fight 
began between the questioner and the one ques- 
tioned. An unlucky blow killed the latter and 
the slayer ended his days in the Kingston 
penitentiary. I have seen four landlords carried 
to premature graves from the Ship Hotel, Rich- 
mond Hill. Three landlords of another tavern 
died of delirium tremens. There were seven 
boys in a household wherein, in accordance with 
the customs of the day, an open barrel was kept 
in the cellar. One of the boys was found dead 
in the woods with a bottle by his side ; a second, 
while on a spree, was choked to death by a piece 
of meat he was eating; a third was found dead 
in a stable where a keg of whiskey was kept; a 
fourth, as a result of excessive indulgence, lost 
his power of speech; and a fifth left for parts 


The tragedy of this household was in a 
measure paralleled by the tragic history of a 
blacksmith shop which Mr. Langstaff's father 
owned. One tenant of this shop, with the help 
of his wife, who was a milliner, became the 
owner of a shop, a home, and two thousand 
dollars. Then the man began to drink and, in 
a few years, home, shop, and money were all 
gone. The second tenant of the Langstaff 
smithy had been a hard drinker but, at his 



wife's solicitation, had sworn off and made the 
wife custodian of the family purse. One day, 
when a burning thirst came on, the man asked 
his wife for a shilling to buy a drink, and was 
refused. In a fit of rage the man cut his throat 
with a razor and died eight days later. A third 
tenant of the shop went to Toronto for a spree 


before taking possession, and, while on this 
spree, fell down a stairway and broke his neck. 

York's first hanging, too, was directly trace- 
able to drink. Two men, Dexter and Vanda- 
burg, were neighbours and friends. Dexter 
invited Vandaburg, who was cradling in an 
adjacent field into the house to have a drink. 
Angry words followed the drinking and Vanda- 
burg was shot dead by Dexter. The latter, after 
due trial, was sentenced to be hanged. The 
scaffold was erected in a public place with steps 
leading up to the platform. When Dexter was 
brought to the foot of the structure he refused 
to mount the steps. Even Bishop Strachan's 
soothing plea of, "Do go up, Mr. Dexter!" failed 
to move him. Eventually a cart was brought 
and Dexter, placed in this, was driven under the 
scaffold, and on the noose being adjusted the 
cart was withdrawn. The usual inquest in such 
cases was held while the body lay on the curry- 
ing-board in Jesse Ketchum's tannery and after- 
wards the body, not even boxed up, was taken 
home by Dexter 's own team and buried on his 
own farm, a few r rods from Yonge Street. 

"One of the saddest tragedies of the period 
when taverns and distilleries were more numer- 
ous than schools are now, was connected with the 
death of a young lad," Mr. Langstaff stated. 
"This boy had gone with his father to a nearby 
distillery to get a keg of whiskey for harvest. 
Other men were at the distillery at the same 
time, and all, in accordance with the usual cus- 
tom, helped themselves at the open tub over 
which a cup was conveniently hanging. While 
the men were otherwise engaged, the boy, 


unnoticed by them, went to the tub, helped him- 
self and died directly after reaching home." 

In addition to these tragedies the drink habit 
interfered sadly with the training of the young. 
Even amongst school teachers drunkenness was 
common in the early days. One of the Bruce 
pioneers told of his school being closed for days 
while the teacher was on a spree. 


About 1868 descendants of the Oro pioneers 
undertook in turn the work of pioneering 
in the country adjacent to where the Notta- 
wasaga River enters Georgian Bay. Among 
those who took part in this movement were 
the Langmans, Cottons, Andersons, Lockes, 
Hunters, and Camerons. These, locating in 
what was then unbroken bush, formed the 
settlement of which Crossland is now the centre. 

"When we located," said Noah Cotton, one of 
these Flos pioneers, "there was nothing but a 
lumberman's road to Elmvale, five miles away. 
In the first fall after our arrival we managed to 
get in five acres of fall wheat. Although we 
suffered nothing like the hardships met with by 
the first settlers in neighbouring townships that 
were opened up at an earlier period, we had it 
hard enough. On my way home from Elmvale 
with my first grist I had to drive a good part 
of the way through mud that in many places 
flowed over the top of the jumper. The tails 
of the oxen, standing out straight behind, 
actually floated over this slimy mass and the 
bags of flour were coated with mud. 


"The first threshing-machine in the section 
was owned by a man named Richard Whittaker, 
and four oxen provided the power for operating 
it. When anyone wanted the machine he had to 
haul it to his own place. Almost every night, 
after working in the field all day, John, a neigh- 
bour, and his men came over to my place for a 
stag dance in the evening. With an old violin 
I furnished music for the others. One night, 
when John was putting in a few extra touches 
on the dance, there was a sudden crash and the 
fancy stepper shot through a hole in the floor 
into the cellar. He had stepped on a knot that 
extended almost all the way across one board 
in the floor and this gave way under his weight. 
But, bless you, that did not stop the dance. With 
a yell like an Indian, John jumped out of the 
cellar and in a moment was at it again, harder 
than ever. 

"No whiskey was ever seen at raising or bee 
in this section. Twelve years before we came 
here a temperance lodge had been formed at 
Colin Gilchrist's home in Oro. My brother, 
sister, myself, and others joined that lodge, and 
we brought our principles with us. To that fact 
is largely due the prosperity of the settlement." 

Mrs. Cotton told of the woman's side of it. 
"I was here two weeks before I saw another 
woman," she said. "My first visitor was Miss 
Langman, and she had to tramp two miles 
through the bush in order to make the call. She 
blazed the trail with a draw-knife as she came 
so as to be sure of finding her way home again. 
One night while my husband was away, an 
Indian, who had been hunting all day without 



"No whiskey was ever seen at raising or bee in this section. 



success, came in and asked for food and shelter. 
I was frightened at first, but, after eating, he 
curled himself up beside the stove and slept 
quietly until morning. 

"One of the most serious dangers to which the 
early settlers were exposed was bush fires," she 
continued. "Some years after the work of 
clearing had been carried on in Flos, bush fires 
swept over the township. Henry Thurston had 
the hair burned from his head as the flames 
swept past him, and my husband, caught in a 
roadway with a roaring furnace in the bush on 
each side, threw a blanket over a child in the 
bottom of the wagon and then raced for life to 
the open clearings beyond. At least one life 
was lost, William Kerr being burned to death 
while fighting off the fires that menaced his 
buildings. ' ' 


The Rev. John Gray, the first Presbyterian 
minister in Oro, had as his field not only this 
one township, but all the territory from Barrie 
on the south to Nottawasaga Bay on the north, 
with part of Mara on the east side of Lake 
Simcoe thrown in for good measure. The near- 
est Presbyterian place of worship to the south 
Avas the old sixth line church in Innisfil. To the 
north was the unbroken wilderness that then 
extended all the way to James Bay. 

In covering his field in summer Mr. Gray rode 
fifty miles on horseback over roads where 
stumps and swails made travel difficult, and in 
the intervals preached two or three times on 
week davs and held four services on Sunday. 


In winter, when driving in a cutter, he fre- 
quently had to get out and make his way 
through the soft snow in order to permit a team 
hauling a load to pass. 

"But there were compensations," Mr. Gray 
told me twenty years ago in his then comfortable 
home in Orillia. "The people were eager for 
the gospel. When Dr. McTavish, of Beaverton, 
administered sacrament at old Knox, the first 
Presbyterian church in Oro, people came from 
Mara and Rama as well as from Medonte and 
Orillia to attend. When the doctor had sacra- 
ment service in his own church at Beaverton 
people travelled fifty and sixty miles to take 
part in the services. To provide accommodation 
for those from a distance every house was 
thrown open, and, if that did not prove sufficient, 
barns were opened as well." 

Mr. Gray, besides ministering to the spiritual 
needs of his flock, also assisted in meeting their 
educational requirements. For a time he served 
as superintendent of schools; not infrequently, 
after inspecting a school during the day, ho hold 
religious service in the same building in tlio 
evening. Nor were religious meetings confined 
to schoolhouses and churches. One of the 
regular services was held in the room of an old 
frame tavern which then occupied the site where 
the Orillia House now stands. 

This recalls the fact that in Oro and adjacent 
townships there was, in the early days, the same 
remarkable combination that existed about the 
same time in Bruce intense religious feeling 
with an ardent love for "old Scotch." This is 
not surprising in the case of the pioneers of Oro. 


many of whom had been engaged in the distil- 
leries of Islay before coming to Canada. 

At weddings, baptisms, and funerals alike 
whiskey flowed freely. In fact on one occasion 
those called in to assist at a funeral became so 
drunk that they could not bury the corpse. 
Once, too, when Mr. Gray was about to perform 
a marriage ceremony, the bridegroom took him 
to one side and asked him to overlook the cus- 
tomary fee for the time being as he "had to 
pay four dollars for a barrel of whiskey," and 
that took all the money he had. "A barrel was 
the regular allowance for a wedding at that 
time," said Mr. Gray. 

"Those who entered the northern part of 
Simcoe when I did, about 1850, had it hard 
enough, but those who came in thirty years 
earlier had it much harder," Mr. Gray contin- 
ued. "I have heard the first of the Drurys and 
Sissons say that at times they had to depend on 
wild fruit for a large part of their subsistence." 

While Mr. Gray was the first Presbyterian 
minister in Oro, he was not the first to carry the 
Gospel into that township. The first regular 
clergyman in the township appears to have been 
the Rev. Mr. Raymond, the organizer of a set- 
tlement formed at Edgar by runaway slaves 
thirty odd years before the American Civil War 
broke the chains of slavery in the South. "Mr. 
Raymond," said Mr. James Smith, a pioneer 
of Oro, "like Mr. Gray, was a man of varied 
gifts. Largely by the work of his own hands 
he built the Congregational Church at Edgar 
in which he afterwards preached for the 
coloured people. He also taught school in Orillia 


during the week, including Saturday forenoon, 
and then walked to Edgar to preach on Sunday. 
But walking was nothing to him. One morning 
he started from what is now the east end of 
Barrie and reached Toronto on foot before 

'The most picturesque figure in this negro 
settlement, which at one time included over 
twenty-five large families, was a negro preacher 
named Sorrocks. This man, himself a runaway 
slave, had a wonderful influence over his people 
and during his frenzied preaching some of his 
hearers became frantic and tried to climb the 
walls of the church on the way to heaven. The 
greatest time of all with them was the service 
that watched the old year out and the New 
Year in. That continued from dark till dawn. 

"At one of these midnight services," con- 
tinued Mr. Smith, "three young white men from 
Crown Hill caused a disturbance and the 
preacher called on a Brother Eddy to eject the 
intruders. Brother Eddy advanced boldly 
towards them, but, as he came near, one of 
them, rising to his full height of six feet and 
more, asked, 

" 'Going to put me out?' 

"Brother Eddy, after looking the giant up and 
down and studying the situation decided 
not to try it, but instead asked for a chew 
of tobacco. 

"Still these negroes were rather dangerous 
customers at times. After living for years in 
what was then the wilderness north of Barrie, 
they seemed to revert in a measure to the savage 
nature of their African ancestors, and it was a 

risky thing to insult them. They were particu- 
larly touchy on any matter relating to their 

"In the days before the Civil War destroyed 
the slave-holding aristocracy of the South, some 
of the Southern planters occasionally came up 
to the Lake Simcoe country to hunt deer. When 
one of these Southern hunting parties reached 
Belle Ewart a big negro from Edgar, his eyes 
blazing with savage hate, jumped on a member 
of the party, a Southern youth, and would have 
torn him limb from limb had not others inter- 
fered. The explanation of the attack was that 
the negro had been this white man's slave and, 
while a slave, had been cruelly horse-whipped 
by his master. 

"They were good axe-men and useful at log- 
gings, ' ' said Mr. Smith, ' * but poor farmers. The 
land they chopped over on their own places ;is 
a rule soon grew up again as thick as before. 
But they were good workers when employed by 
others. One of the community, Mrs. Banks, had 
a rare skill with herbs and was the 'medicine 
man' of the neighbourhood. When sickness 
occurred, the whole community came to see the 
sick one and incidentally to share in the pro- 
visions they knew the whites would supply." 

Mr. Smith, from whom these particulars of 
the Edgar negro settlement were obtained, was 
the grandson of a man who had his wrist dis- 
abled at Quatre Bras just before Waterloo. As 
partial compensation for military service the 
grandfather received the grant of an Oro bush 
lot, and to this he removed in 1831. In moving 
to his farm this old soldier had to follow the 


usual Yonge Street-Lake Simcoe route of the 
time to Hawkstone. 

"From Hawkstone," the grandson told me, 
"my grandfather and his family tramped over 
twelve miles through the bush, carrying their 
belongings on their backs. In lighting a fire 
they used a flint and punk. Grandfather's 
nearest neighbour, when he settled on his lot, 
was a negro a mile and a half away. The nearest 
white was Smith of Dalston, six miles distant. 
He had to carry his wool to Newmarket to have 
it made into cloth and his grist to Holland 
Landing to be ground. He had the choice of 
two markets for his produce Barrie and 
Penetang'. At the Thompson store at Penetang' 
he could get just enough cash to pay his taxes; 
the balance due on his produce had to be taken 
out in trade. At Barrie he could not get even 
as much cash." 

Mr. Gray also threw interesting light on 
the origin of some place-names in the country 
about the upper end of Lake Simcoe. As else- 
where stated, a number of Peninsular War 
veterans were pioneers in the Lake Simcoe 
country, and among these Spanish terms were 
as common as French expressions among the 
Canadians who were in the mud of Flanders at 
a later day. 

"Oro," said Mr. Gray, "is Spanish for gold, 
and Peninsular veterans seeing the gold-like 
yellow sand on the shore of Lake Simcoe applied 
the name to Oro. 'Orillia,' again, is Spanish for 
coast and hence the name given to Orillia town 
and township. I cannot, however, account for 
the names Rama, Mara, and Thorah. These are 


of Hebrew origin, Rama meaning 'high'; Mara, 
bitter;' and Thorah, k the law. 1 The only 
possible explanation that occurs to me is that 
a Jew ma}' have been engaged in the survey of 
those townships." 


It was in the last days of May, 1898, that 
I visited the township of Clarke and chatted 
with many old people in the neighbourhood. 
Best remembered amongst these are H. L. 
Powers, Samuel Billings, Thomas Thornton, 
John Bigelow, Simon Powers, Lewis Clark, 
John Parker, Aaron Davis, Joseph Fox, John 
Gardener, Thomas Hooper, Thomas Patter- 
son, Robert Burgess and his wife. These 
were the last of the Clarke pioneers. Of the 
fourteen whose names are mentioned none 
remain alive to-day, with the exception of Simon 
Powers, the father of Arthur Powers, one of the 
most untiring workers in the interests of the 
TLF.O. The first decade of the present century 
witnessed the departure of practically all that 
remained of thos-e who had first-hand knowledge 
of pioneering days in what is now known as 
Old Ontario. 

"Norman and Saxon and Dane are we," sang 
Tennyson in his greeting of Princess Alexandra 
when she came from her home in Denmark to 
wed the late King Edward then Prince of Wales. 
Of equally mixed, and at least equally honour- 
able ancestry, are we in Canada. One illustration 
of this is given in a fragment of the family his- 
tory of the one from whom I received most of the 

facts herein given. H. L. Powers' paternal 
grandfather of English ancestry, served in 
Washington's bodyguard in the American 
Revolutionary War. His maternal grandfather 
Larue, of French ancestry, fought for the King 
George of that day and had his property in the 
thirteen Colonies confiscated for his pains. 

In compensation Larue was given two hun- 
dred acres for each one of the several members 
of his family in Canada. One of these children, 
the mother of H. L. Powers, received as her 
share two hundred acres now forming part of 
the site of the city of Ottawa. Mr. Powers was 
however, born in the state of New York' 
but early in life settled near Brockville, remov- 
ing in 1832 to what was then the wilderness of 
Jlarke, where he and his connections later on 
largely aided in turning the forest into fruit- 
ful fields. 

"Our family had one team of horses and one 
yoke of oxen when they started from Brockville, 
and nine days were spent on the journey to 
where the village of Orono now stands," said 
Mr. Powers. "They were obliged to cross the 
Trent River in a scow, and narrowly escaped 
drowning in doing so. On the last stage of the 
journey they had to cut a road for four miles 
through the woods in order to reach the 
future site of Kirby. Orono was then a hemlock 
bush. The only settlers in the neighbourhood 
were two families of Baldwins and an old 
bachelor named Eldad Johns." 

A bear was treed and shot the day the Powers 
arrived, and Mr. Powers' first night was passed 
in the lee of a fallen pine with the boughs form- 


ing a roof. The first Christmas day was spent 
in packing flour from Munro's Mill, near New- 
castle. Mr. Powers, his father, and two brothers 
each carried a load home on his back. 

The fraternal spirit of the early days is shown 
by the action of Eldad Johns, the bachelor of 
Orono. During one winter of real scarcity, 
wheat soared locally to two dollars and a 
half per bushel. Johns was one of the few men 
who had grain to spare, but none of this was for 
those with money. "Go," said Johns to these, 
"and buy from those who have it to sell. My 


wheat is all for those who have no money and 
for them it is without price." 

The electric lights which now illuminate the 
village streets were not even dreamed of in the 
days of the pioneers. "Those who had tallow 
candles were the fortunate ones," said Mr. 
Powers. "Many depended on wicks set in oil 
held in saucers, or more frequently still on the 
blazing logs in the open fireplace. 


'There were, however, luxuries even in that 
day, ' ' he continued. ' k Maple suga r was made by 
all the settlers, some families putting down as 
much as seven hundred pounds in a season. 
There were no apples, but there was something 
else just as good. The pumpkin bee was a 
social function, and lads and lassies gathered 
from miles around to peel and string pumpkins 
for drying, just as those of a later generation 
had their apple-paring bees. And what delicious 
pies those dried pumpkins did make ! ' ' 

Hunting was a source of pleasure as well as 
of profit to the pioneers. Cyrus Davidson, 
a celebrated marksman of the pioneer period, 
brought down seven deer in one day, and Mr. 
Powers' father shot one hundred and nineteen 
in all, his one great regret being that he was not 
able to make it the even one hundred and twenty. 

But the dancing! "Once," Mr. Powers 
resumed, ' * when father, my brother, and myself 
were on our way home from Port Hope we 
stopped at a hotel where a dance was in pro- 
gress. The landlord told us to join in. Scarcely 
had we entered the room when two girls came up 
and invited us to be their partners. (We did 
not wait for introductions in those days.) The 
dance was the 'opera reel,' with girls on one 
side and boys on the other in parallel lines. It 
was while holding opposite lines that the fancy 
steps were put in. My brother was one of the 
best fancy dancers I have ever seen, and after 
the girls saw how he could 'step it off' we had 
no lack of partners for the rest of the evening. 
I sometimes served as fiddler at local dances, 
and even yet I can see the bright-eyed girls, clad 


in homespun, as they swung in the arms of the 
swains of long ago. 

"At a later period came the camp meetings, 
and these were at times scenes of the most 
intense excitement. The sermon, and it was the 
real old-timer with plenty of brimstone in it, 
was followed by singing, and during the singing 
sinners were urged to advance to the penitent 
bench. 'Come Sinners to the Gospel Feast ' and 
'Blow Ye the Trumpet Blow' were among the 
favourite hymnal appeals to the ungodly. The 
fierce urge of the sermon and the passionate call 
of the singers stirred the massed audience to a 
state of indescribable excitement. I have seen 
people literally fall over each other while the 
anguished wails of repentant sinners mingled 
with the voices of the singers and the weird 
sound of the wind in the tree tops. 

"The most exciting time of the kind I ever 
experienced was at an indoor revival, held by a 
man named Beale, at Orono in 1843. This man 
warned the assembled hundreds to prepare for 
the end of the world, which he declared was then 
at hand. One man actually tried to climb a 
stovepipe on the way to heaven and one woman 
went raving mad. ' ' 

But there was another side to these religious 
upheavals of the 'forties a side furnished by 
some who persistently remained without the 
fold. At one camp meeting, held near Myrtle, 
in Ontario County, a rowdy led in a gang 
of toughs bent on disturbing the meeting. "A 
magistrate who happened to be on the grounds 
swore in a dozen of us to keep the peace," said 
Mr. Powers. "As soon as sworn in we went 


over to the intruders and escorted them to the 
open road. When we readied the road one of 
the specials, a big muscular chap named Mosher, 
who either had not been converted or had back- 
slidden, went up to the bad men and quietly 
remarked: 'Now, if you chaps have not had 
enough, I will take you on one at a time and lick 
the crowd. ' The challenge was not accepted and 
there were no more attempts to disturb that 
particular meeting. 

'These old-time camp meetings, were held all 
the way from Orono to Whitby neighbourhood. 
Jacob Purdy's bush on the seventh concession 
of Clarke provided one of the camp sites. 
Among the preachers were Bishop Smith and 
Solomon Waldron of Mallorytown, Mr. Pirette 
of Whitby, and Charles Simpson of Sidney. 

Mr. Powers led the singing at many of 
these gatherings. I heard him sing some 
of the old hymns when he was well past three 
score and ten, and even then his voice was clear 
as a bell. The Briggs family of Whitby were 
also among the famous camp-meeting singers of 
the 'forties and 'fifties. 

Speaking of religious services in the early 
days, Mr. McDougall of Bruce County once said 
to me: "In the evening the family sat around 
the open hearth, where the great logs blazed, and 
sang Psalms learned in Scotland. On Sundays 
father and mother walked ten miles to church. 
Communion services were held at Kincardine 
once a year, these services lasting from Thurs- 
day to Monday. To these services people came 
from a distance of twenty or thirty miles, many 
of them along blazed trails, over swails knee 


deep in mud, mid through slashes where wind 
storms had left trees in a tangled mass. No 
building in Kincardine was large enough to hold 
those who came and services were held in the 
open. Rector McKay was precentor and the 
whole congregation joined in the singing, that 
familiar Psalm of faith and trust being their 
favourite : 
'The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want/ " 


4 'One of the first places open for service was 
Calder's mill in Beaverton," said Mr. McFad- 
yen, to whom we have listened before. "One 
Sunday I arrived a little late and the building 
was already crowded. I had just taken my place 
near a set of stones, the Psalm had been given 
out, and Precentor Gillies was leading the 
singing, when there was a noise of grinding and 
wrenching and the next moment I found myself 
at the edge of a small precipice. Below was a 
tangled mass of timber, boards, and struggling 
humanity, while the noise of breaking timbers 
was succeeded by the shrieks of the terrified 

"The floor of the mill had given way 
under the weight of the assembled congregation. 
Strange to say the only casualty was a broken 
leg, Miss McCrea being the victim. The minister 
on that occasion was the Rev. Mr. Galloway. 
An uncle of Dr. Galloway, of Beaverton, and 
Colonel Cameron, who owned part of what is 
now the Gunn farm, took charge of the work 
of rescue. 


"At the beginning there were long intervals 
between regular services, and during these 
intervals the people met together, in the home 
of one or other of the neighbours, to read the 
scriptures and sing psalms. Regular services 
drew congregations from the whole country for 
miles around, the people walking bare-footed, 
in order to save their shoes, until within a short 
distance of the place of assemblage, and then 
stopping to put on their footwear that they 
might enter the sanctuary decently shod. 

''Frequently service was held in the open 
woods. On such occasions the men gathered on 
Saturday to clear out the underbrush and pre- 
pare rude seats for the congregation. Never 
have been witnessed more impressive services 
than those that came with the succeeding Sab- 
bath. No cathedral could boast pillars equal to 
those formed by the giants of the forest; no 
vaulted arch fashioned by man so impressive as 
the leafy canopy above, while the rude altar was 
glorified by shafts of gold as the rays of the 
afternoon sun shot athwart the trees. The gen- 
tle breeze that stirred the pine tops created a 
melody deeper and sweeter than that produced 
in response to the touch of the player, and as the 
voices of the great congregation rose in ever- 
swelling volume, the earth and all that lived 
therein seemed to join in the song of praise. It 
was no formal service then; the declaration that 
'The Lord is my Shepherd' expressed a living 
belief in an over-ruling Providence, and eyes 
were lifted unto the hills around in expec- 
tation of seeing the ever-present help in time 
of need." 



The old days are gone; the woods are gone; 
the pioneers themselves rest in the shadows of 
the old stone church ; but the memory and influ- 
ence of these simple, believing pioneers will 
remain long after even the church itself has 
crumbled into dust. 


Frequent reference is made in these sketches 
to the intensity of the religious fervour prevail- 
ing in Ontario within a period roughly extend- 
ing from 1830 to 1850. A partial explanation of 
the phenomenon may be found in the conditions 
then existing. The tide of emigration from 
Europe was at its height. Family and commun- 
ity ties with the old land were being forever 
broken; hardships of many kinds pressed with 
crushing weight upon the pioneers. The loneli- 
ness of isolated families was beyond description. 
The dense forests, the great lakes and rivers, 
and the dread magnificence of nature were all 
calculated to make a deep impression on minds 
peculiarly susceptible to spiritual influences. 
Perhaps never were the comforts of religion 
more deeply felt, even by the Jews during the 
Babylonian captivity. 

One of the most extraordinary phases of the 
wave that then swept over Ontario was seen in 
the Millerite frenzy of the 'forties. Some first 
hand information regarding this was obtained 
from Charles Alliii, then living in Newcastle. 

"Two brothers named Huff represented the 
Millerite movement in the district covering 
Newcastle, Orono, and Kirby," Mr. Allin said, 


"These men used a blackboard in connection 
with their preaching and that blackboard was 
covered with figures and Scriptural texts. From 
the evidence thus graphically presented they 
proved conclusively, to their own satisfaction 
at least, that the end of the world was at hand. 
Many shared their belief and as the appointed 
day approached the excitement was intense. 
Even when the day arrived and the predicted 
event did not occur, the faith of the Millerites 
was not shaken. This continued faith was based 
on an ingenious explanation given by the lead- 
ers. They said that they had made the same 
sort of miscalculation a man would make in 
counting the steps from his door to the gate post, 
by including the doorstep itself in the number. 
They made a new calculation, with allowance for 
this sort of error, and declared that the sound- 
ness of their new prophecy was beyond question. 
As the second day approached, excitement, high 
enough before, reached the point of madness. 
But there were mockers even then. A few even- 
ings before the day named for the final crash, 
some of the boys from the village loosened the 
pegs of the gigantic tent in which a lot of shout- 
ing Millerites were assembled, and shouts and 
screams were smothered under the collapsed 
canvas structure. A day or two before this, as 
we were chopping in our woods, one of the Huffs 
approached and said 

'You may chop and you may log; 
You may plough and you may sow; 
But you certainly shall not reap!' 

'I know we did reap, though" added Mr. 


Allin with a smile, "because I cradled most of 
the resultant crop myself." 


" "The Cavan Blazers' were the social regu- 
lators of the early days in the northern part 
of Durham," said George Berry. "Now-a-days 
it is all law, law, law. If any little dispute 
occurs between neighbours, or if some one is act- 
ing in a manner injurious to the community, 
the magistrate and constable must be called in. 
'The Blazers' settled all such matters in the 
early days without delay, without cost, and with 
less of ill-feeling than follows upon legal pro- 
ceedings now. Not only that, but they made the 
punishment fit the crime in the case of men 
whose offences could not be reached in the 
ordinary way. 

"For instance there was one mean and gen- 
erally disagreeable fellow, whose conduct was 
such as to call for a little discipline. In those 
days they teamed grain to Port Hope, more than 
twenty miles distant, and loaded their wagons 
the night before so as to get an early start the 
next morning. This man had a wagon load of 
grain all ready to go to market. When he got 
up in the morning he found the wagon, still 
loaded, astride the ridge of the barn. He may 
not have enjoyed the work of getting the wagon 
and bags down from the roof, but ho was a better 
citizen afterwards. 

"Then there was a postmaster who insisted 
on pasturing his calf on the roadway. A nearby 
church and adjoining cemetery were both open 


to the road, and the calf would go into the grave- 
^yard and feed on the long grass. Then, as a 
chill came on with the night, it would lie on the 
warm steps of the church and leave them in a 
most filthy state by morning. 'The Blazers' 
stood it as long as possible, and then one Satur- 
day night something happened. When the store- 


"There was one mean fellow whose conduct was such as to call for 
a little discipline. ' ' 

keeper got up late Sunday morning, he found the 
calf boxed up in a large crockery crate in front 
of his store door and the crate securely anchored 
with some heavy stones and a block of timber 
placed on top. The lesson was effective. There 
was no more desecration of the place of burial; 


and the church steps no longer required scrub- 
bing every Sunday morning before service. 

" 'The Blazers' had their own method of 
punishing contempt of the court they main- 
tained. One man, forgetting the respect due so 
useful and august a tribunal, had the temerity 
to express, in a letter, sentiments which 'The 
Blazers' thought derogatory to their dignity. 
One evening, as he was walking home along the 
concession line, he found himself unexpectedly 
in the midst of a group of figures that appeared 
from the gloom of the fence corners. He was 
first requested to eat his own letter, and the 
request was promptly complied with. Then he 
was asked, and again no special urging was 
called for, to hold up his right hand and repeat 
a solemn declaration that 'I. A. B., am the great- 
est liar on top of earth. ' 

"On another occasion, 'The Blazers' came in 
for what they considered unjust censure. In 
this case the criticism was given in the course 
of a sermon by a preacher in the neighbourhood. 
The preacher also happened to be going along 
the road a short time afterwards, and he like- 
wise found himself in the midst of a group of 
stalwart figures that appeared from the sur- 
rounding gloom. He was asked to get out of 
the buggy. He got out. He was requested to 
kneel in the dust of the roadway. He kneeled. 
Then he was requested to pray, not for the con- 
version of 'The Blazers/ but for the success of 
their efforts to maintain order and promote 
good citizenship in their own way. He prayed. 

"A widow had a cow that was almost as great 
a nuisance as the storekeeper's calf. It carried 


a bell a jarring, jangling bell, that kept the 
whole neighbourhood awake at nights. One 
Saturday night there was an unusual calm; the 
bell had disappeared from the cow's neck. 
Next morning it was found hanging from the 
middle of a telegraph wire that ran opposite a 
church in which the sermons were of the two 
hour order. That Sunday, the preacher had 
scarcely reached the 'firstly' when a gentle 
breeze sprang up and jang-clang went the bell 
as it swayed on the wire. The sermon pro- 
ceeded, but before it was fairly in the 'secondly' 
stage, the wind had increased and the Jang, 
clang, clang, brought the discourse to an abrupt 
and unusually early ending. 'The Blazers' got 
their two birds with that one shot," chuckled 
Mr. Berry, "the cow no longer disturbed the 
night, and from that time on the sermons in that 
particular church were of moderate length. 

" 'The Blazers' were fine workers and had 
their own peculiar sense of humour. One night, 
while out on some other business, a quiet young 
man happened to be going the same way on 
horseback. He, too, suddenly found himself in 
a bunch of men on the roadway. Their unlocked 
for appearance rather alarmed him at the start, 
but their quiet demeanour and gentle conversa- 
tion reassured him, and he thought he must have 
struck a lot of neighbours going home from 
prayer meeting. When lie got into the stable, 
with a light, he found that the tail of his horse 
had been as neatly shaved as ever a chin has 
been shaved since by a barber with all the 
accessories of electric light and upholstered 


" 'The Blazers' were all Orangemen, and there 
was only one Roman Catholic in the whole 
township. One year, as harvest season ap- 
proached, this man was taken ill and was unable 
to care for his ripening crop. It was then that 
'The Blazers' showed the warm heart beneath 
the sometimes rude exterior. They went one 
night and cut and shocked the ripening grain on 
the farm of their sick neighbour. A few nights 
later they returned and hauled the grain into 
the barn. 

" Some times in their enthusiasm for good 
fellowship 'The Blazers' committed pranks from 
which the settlers suffered loss. A farmer's wife 
had a turkey gobbler of which she was inordin- 
ately proud a regular forty pounder. One 
night she heard a gentle flutter and squawk in 
a nearby tree in which the turkeys roosted. 
Going to the door, lamp in hand, she stood 
revealed in the flickering light. A few feet from 
her, hidden in the shadow, stood a man with the 
gobbler's head safely gathered up in his armpit, 
and the fat body of the bird pressing warmly 
against his side. The thief had a sense of 
humour, too. 'Don't bother to bring a light, 
madam,' said he, 'I've got him.' 

Mr. Berry had another story to tell of the 
early days a story which may not be strictly 
accurate, but is too good to omit. 

A preacher, having lost his voice, took up a 
bush farm. He had chopped and burned one 
small corner and had everything prepared for his 
spring seeding. His oxen, Buck and Bright by 
name, were in the bush, the old three-pointed 
drag was ready, and the seed was in the bag. 


But during the night before the seeding, Buck 
died and Bright alone was left. 

"Never mind," said the ex-preacher hope- 
fully to his wife; "if you sow the grain 
Maria I will yoke myself with Bright and we 
will pull the drag." 

The yoking was effected and the first round 
started. There was a slight up-grade to the back 
of the field but on the return the ground sloped 
downward. Whether it was the lighter haul 
down, a furry ground-hog, or a belated realiza- 
tion of the sort of yoke-mate he had, is not 
known, but anyway Bright started on the jump 
and the ex-preacher had to jump, too. Maria, 
dropping her pan of wheat hurried to head 
them off. 

"Don't get in the road, Maria," shouted her 
spouse as he ran for life dodging blackened 
stumps at the same time, "Don't try to head 
us off; we're running away." 

At the end of the clearing Bright and his 
human yoke-fellow ran fair into a brush heap 
and were ' fetched up all standing.' Maria, 
badly winded, got there almost as soon. 

"Unhitch Bright, Maria," gasped the hus- 
band, "I'll stand." 





"At the time my father came to Canada in 
1832, a plague of cholera was sweeping through 
the land and the only activity was in the 

This statement was made to me by Henry 
Morris, of the township of Colborne, Huron 
County. An old newspaper clipping of the 
early 'thirties, preserved by Mr. Morris, showed 
that he had not exaggerated in his description 
of the situation. In this clipping it was stated 
that the entire country along the line of the St. 
Lawrence frontier, for a distance of five hundred 
miles, was being scourged by the plague and 
that the ' ' mortality was enormous. ' ' Seigneurs, 
judges, members of the Legislature, doctors, 
men of all degrees were stricken. Among the 
notable victims were the Hon. John Caldwell 
and Judges Taschereau and Kerr. The city of 
Quebec was in a state of terror, business was 
suspended, people shut themselves in their 
homes to escape contagion, and plague flags, 
more ominous than the red emblem in parts of 
Continental Europe to-day, flew everywhere. 
In Montreal out of a population of twenty-five 
thousand at that time, there were one thousand 
deaths. In the whole colony it was estimated 
that half the population was attacked and that 



one in every twenty-seven of the people 

The situation was made worse by the refusal 
of the crews of many lake and river steamers 
to operate the vessels, and by the action of 
people everywhere in barring their doors against 
emigrants then streaming into the country, and 
who were blamed for bringing the cholera with 
them. The emigrants' cup of sorrow was filled 
to overflowing when, seeking to escape to the 
United States, they found the American militia 
lining the border to prevent entrance. 

"It was," said Mr. Morris, " under circum- 
stances such as these that my parents arrived 
at Quebec. They had with them an infant 
child that took sick on the way. While on a 
river steamer coming up the St. Lawrence the 
child died; and in order to conceal death, and so 
avoid having the body thrown overboard, my 
mother held the dead body in her arms for 
twenty-four hours, until Prescott was reached, 
and there Christian burial was secured. 

"There was just one bright spot in a situation 
that otherwise was one of universal gloom. 
While the plague was at its height a delegation 
came over from New York to assist the stricken. 
The most picturesque figure in the delegation 
was a doctor, with a beard like that of a prophet 
of old, and driving a ramshackle light wagon to 
which a team of ponies was attached by rope 
harness. This doctor made but the one request as 
he journeyed over the plague-smitten territory, 
that he be shown where the worst cases were to 
be found. When he arrived on the scene of suf- 
fering his remedies were of the simplest pow- 


dered charcoal, maple sugar, and lard admin- 
istered internally; with lye poultices, made from 
wood ashes, and as strong as the patient could 
stand, applied externally to relieve the cramps 
from which cholera patients suffered. In no 
case would this Father of Mercy accept fee, but 
after his service was ended a fund, raised by 
public subscription, was forced upon him. That 
nameless American doctor of the 'thirties was 
the Hoover and more than the Hoover of 
his dav." 


"The most picturesque figure in the delegation, was a 
doctor, with a beard like that of a prophet of old, and 
driving a ramshackle light wagon to which a team of ponies 
was attached by rope harness." 

Mr. Morris had to draw on what he had heard 
from his parents, or read in an old newspaper 
clipping, for what he told me. From Henry 
Smith, of Barrie, interviewed a month later, I 
received a first hand story, not only of the 
devastation caused by cholera outbreak, but of 


the equal calamity due to ship-fever which 
occurred some thirteen years afterwards. 

"I was in Montreal when the cholera was at 
its worst/' said Mr. Smith. "As people were 
dying by thousands no time was taken for 
funeral ceremonies. The dead were buried by 
contract on the basis of so much for each corpse 
disposed of. The bodies were hauled away in 
carts and dumped in great trenches as the killed 
are laid away after battle. I believe many were 
buried while merely in the state of stupor that 
resembles death. Those immigrants who had not 
been attacked were held in quarantine in great 
barn-like structures. The sick were housed in 
buildings of like construction and with little 
more by way of comfort. An immigrant told me 
that as their ship was coming up the Gulf of 
St. Lawrence they saw, dotting the sea for 
miles, bedding that had been thrown overboard 
and on which fever-stricken emigrants had died. 

"I was in Picton when ship-fever came later, 
and as I was attacked by that disease myself, I 
saw little of what went on during the worst of 
the plague but I was witness of the effects after- 
wards. The sufferers were housed in sheds and 
a nearby cemetery was largely filled with those 
who died. Then, after the plague had appar- 
ently been brought under control, the disease 
was* carried in the clothing of immigrants to 
farm houses in which employment had been 
secured. Children seemed to escape the fever, 
but among the immigrants, as well as the far- 
mers who had employed them, many children 
were left orphans and many women widowed. 

"The question then arose as to what was to 


be done with immigrant orphans and widows. 
They could not be sent back and could not be 
left uncared for here. It was at this juncture 
that Bishop Strachan came to the rescue with 
heroic remedies. He had the orphaned children 
placed in foster homes, and he was credited 
with arranging something like forced marriages 
for the widows. One well-authenticated case 
had to do with a widow who had considerable 
cash, and a local farmer who had much land but 
no money and no wife. The bishop had banns 
proclaimed between these two, and it was not 
until after the proclamation that the widow was 
told of what had been done. She was further 
informed that banns having been published, the 
marriage must of necessity be gone on with and 
she was ordered to prepare for the same forth- 
with. The inevitable was accepted and the 
union appears to have turned out quite happily/' 

There were some Good Samaritans at the 
time of the ship-fever as well as at the time of 
the cholera plague. Some of the stricken ones 
among the Irish immigrants having reached 
Newmarket, an old brewery was turned into a 
hospital for their accommodation. Volunteers 
were called for to nurse the patients and Wright 
Burkett and a harness-maker named Wallace 
responded. While engaged on their service of 
mercy, Burkett contracted the fever and died, 
and Wallace was brought to death's door but 

The facts in this case were given me by 
John Langstaff at the time he told the story 
of the tragedies of Yonge Street due to early 
drinking customs. 



I've tried to portray with the aid of the pen 

The last resting place of two different men, 

Divergent in life, one humble, one great, 

They both passed in death through the same little gate. 

Neath six feet of earth they now lie asleep; 

Their friends and their neighbours have long ceased to weep; 

The hoarse blasts of winter hurl snow o'er the ground, 

The soft summer zephyr caresses each mound; 

In nature's embrace no difference they find, 

It leaves class distinction to fickle mankind. 



We learn from the obelisk reared to the sky, 
Resplendent in grandeur, impressing the eye, 
That a lofty man lies in the clay damp and cold, 
If we read the inscription in letters of gold; 
The plot claims attention, the grass is kept shorn, 
The sweet blooming flowers are trained to adorn. 
The neat iron railing, loop, tassel and fret, 
Are painted and varnished the colour of jet : 
The lilac in season of beauteous bloom 
Ne'er fails to contribute her fragrant perfume. 

We turn to the other, neglected it stands 

And hence to its fellow more beauty it lends: 

The mound it has settled, the slab has a lean, 

While round it the weeds in profusion are seen, 

Which seem as they sway by the autumn wind blown, 

In affection to burnish the face of the stone, 

O 'ev the grave of a poor simple knight of the soil 

Released from his thraldom of trouble and toil, 

Who played well his part when the country was young, 

And now lies forgotten, unhonoured, unsung. 

M. McGillivray 

Here and there through these stories refer- 
ence has been made to occasions, when in 
summer's heat or winter's cold the first settlers 
laid the bodies of their loved ones in ground 
forever hallowed by the labours of the dead and 
the living. In many cases these burials 
marked the beginning of cemeteries that have 
since been maintained by descendants of 
the original settlers who still live in the 
neighbourhood. In cases without number a 
different story must be told. Some of those who 
died in the early days were without relatives in 
this country and no one was left, even from the 
first, to care for the lonely graves in which they 
were laid. A typical case was that of which 


my old friend Larry Smith, of Whitby, once told 
me. Pointing to two or three field stones irreg- 
ularly embedded on the bank of a stream on his 
own farm, he said that these marked the last 
resting place of two strangers who had fallen 
victims to the cholera plague, which swept the 
province in the early part of the last century. 
As noted already, burials of necessity followed 
promptly on death in such cases, and one of these 
victims heard the sound of his coffin being nailed 
together before his eyes closed in the last sleep. 
In thousands of instances descendants of those 
who fell by the wayside, inheriting the wander- 
lust to which the creation of Ontario was in no 
small part due, followed the moving horizon 
beyond which the star of hope always beckoned, 
and the result is that to-day almost every town- 
ship in Old Ontario has at least one cemetery in 
which the names of the dead are those of stran- 
gers in a strange land. The descendants of the 
pioneers have themselves passed to the beyond, 
or are scattered all the way from the Gulf of 
Mexico to the polar seas and no one is left to 
care for these resting places. 

In the closing year of the last century I 
visited one such cemetery in the township of 
McGfillivray, near where Maple Lodge post-office 
then was. Not one of the descendants of those 
lying in this cemetery were then living in the 
neighbourhood, and sheep were pasturing among 
the broken or falling monuments. 

One broken slab had been erected to the mem- 
ory of " Rebecca, daughter of ." This was all 
that remained of the inscription. Another head- 
stone marked the spot where lay the body of a 


little son of William and Jane Barber, who was 
carried off in 1846, at the tender age of one year, 
six months, and fourteen days. One could 
imagine the grief of the broken-hearted parents 
as, amid the gloom of a forest varied only by the 
blackened stumps of the scanty clearings, the 
body of the little one was laid in the damp 
ground. Particularly pathetic, too, was the 
blurred lettering over the grave of Alonzo 
Barber, born in 1858 and died in 1859. All that 
could be deciphered of the lettering in this 

case was: 

Little Stranger 


But there was a world of pathos in those three 

These scattered graves and neglected ceme- 
teries of the unknown dead are but gloomy 
reminders of man's mortality. They serve no 
real purpose, and it would be more in keeping 
with what is due to those who blazed the trail 
into the forest and laid the foundations of a 
prosperous province, if the broken headstones 
were wholly removed. Fields of waving grain 
or the rich bloom of orchards growing in their 
place would in some measure remind those with 
ears to hear and eyes to see, of the inestimable 
services rendered by the labours of the men and 
women who made possible the enjoyment of the 
heritage of to-day. 


ADOLPHTJSTOW:sr, 6, 8, 12 

Allan, James, 225 
Allan, Wni., 291 
Allcock, Jfemes, 273 
Allcock, Simon, 273 
Allen, Parker, 6, 9 
Allin, Chas., 43, 44, 318, 319 
Allin, Frank, 44 
Allison, D. W., 8 
Ambler. Thos., 76 
Ancaster, 176, 256 
Anderson. Capt., 263 
Anderson, Duncan, 105 
Anderson, John, 194 
Ardagh, Pastor, 76 
Armstrong, Bobt., 238 
Armstrong, Wm., 24 
Asia, the, 115, 116 
Aurora, 109 

BAXOR, REV. DR., 61 
Banks, Mrs., 307 
Barber, Alonzo, 335 
Barber, Prank, 229 
Barber, Jane, 335 
Barber, Philip, 229 
Barrie, 75, 80, 81, 85 et seq. 
Barrie, John, 47 
Bayview, 182, 184 
Beaver, the, 89 

Beaverton, 141, 147, 148, 152, 157 

Beck, F. L., 281 et seq. 

Belfountain, 182, 184 

Belle Ewart, 84, 85, 152, 153, 291 

Bellwoods, Chas., 53 

Bellwoods, John, 53 

Bently, Albert, 273, 274 

Bently, Maria, 273 

Berry, Geo., 320 et seq. 

Best, Thos., 53, 54 

Billings, Samuel, 52 

Blake, Hon. Ed., 44 

Blanding, Sarah J., 273 

Bleakley, John, 184 

Boline, the, 39, 40 

Bowles, James, 206 

Bowman, Chas., 53 

Bowmanville, 49, 53, 54 

Bradstreet, Col., 5 

Bmgilla, the, 201 

Brisbin, Jane, 17 

Brock, R. W., 182 et seq. 

Brockville, 68, 227 

Brown, John, 40 

Bryce, Thos., 261 

Buchanan, James, 185 et seq. 

Buchanan, Mrs. J., 185 et seq. 

Buck, Elijah, 31 

Burke, John, 17 

Burke, Luke, 17 

Burkett, Wright, 331 

Burritt, Col., 65, 66 


338 INDEX 

Burritt'B Rapids, 66 
ButterfieW, Abraham, 53 
Bytown, 3, 62, 195 

Caldwell, Hon. John, 327 
Caldwell, S., 15, 16 
Cameron, Col., 149, 315 
Cameron, Daniel, 148 
Cameron, H. D., 248 
Campbell, A., 178 et seq. 
Campbell, Colin, 138 
Canada Company, the, 169, 170, 

177, 213, 234 
Cannington, 147 
Carleton, Sir Guy, 5, 6 
Carmichael, Dougall, 141 
Carr, John, 11 
Cartier, Jacques, 1 
Casey, T. W., 6, 7, 12 
Casselman, Nelson, 57, 58, 60 
"Cavan Blazers," the, 50, 320 

et seq. 

Champlain, Samuel, 1 
Chapman, Chas., 269 
Charters, Mr., 47 
Chatham, 207 

Chingacousy, 147, 178 et seq. 
Chisholm, Kenneth, 180 
Christian Islands, 97 
Christie, A. R., 169 
Chryslers Farm, battle of, 55 
Churchill, 92, 292 
Clanahan, Mr., 225 
Clark, Peter, 247 et seq. 
Claughton, John, 133 et seq. 
Cleary, Archbishop, 10 
Coates, Thos., 62 
Cobourg, 15, 227 
Colborne, Sir John, 91 
Coldwater, 98, 105 
Collingwood, 233 
Collins, Chas., 97 
Collins, Deputy Surveyor, 7 

Cook, Elias, 55, 57, 58, 60 
Cook, H. H., 55 
Cooksville, 179 
Cornell, Wm., 51 
Cornwall, 55 

Corrigan, Mr., 281 et seq. 
Cotton, Noah, 300 
Coulter, Andrew, 225 
Coulthard, G. H., 260 
Courtice, Thos., 40 
Crae, Wm., 76 
Craig, Thos., 96, 97 
Craven, Linwood, 237 et seq. 
Crawford, Angus, 37 
Crawford, Archie, 224 
Creemore, 99, 102, 155 
Crooks, Capt., 211, 212 
Crooks, Hon. James, 196 
Crown Hill, 74, 75, 76, 85, 96 
Gulp, Tilman, 18 
Cummings, Patrick, 259 
Currie, Archie, 102 



Davis, Asa, 47 

Dayton, D. L., 229 

Devins, Abraham ,12S 

Devins, Isaac, 128, 131 

Dobie, David, 220 et seq. 

Donaldsons, the, 190 

Dorchester, Lord, see Sir Guy 


Doherty, Bernard, 274, 275 
Doherty, Hon. M., 50, 274, 275, 276 
Douse, Rev. Mr., 49 
Drury, Hon. E. C., 78, 80, 96 
Drury, Richard, 78, 79 
Drury, Thos., 78, 79, 12fi 
Dundas, 36 


Eagle, Samuel, 183, 184 
Education Acts, 1S41-4S, 76 



Ekfrid, 225 
Elliott, Andrew. 202 
Elliott, Henry, 39, 40, 41 
Emily May, the, 153 
Enterprise, the, 195, 196 
Essence, John, 82 
Euclid, the, 208 
Eugenia Falls, 227 el seq. 

Family Compact, the, 114, 191 

Farley, John, 42 

Farmersville, 67 

Fletcher, Alex., 17 

Foley, Richard, 39 

Forneri, Rev. R. 8., 6, 9, 10 

Forsyth, Major, 70 

Fort Frontenac, 5, 6, 7 

Frankish, T. B., 270, 272 

Franklin, Sir John, 91 

Frazer, Rev. Wm., 245 

Frontenac, Gov., 5 

Full james House, the, 107 


GAIRBRAID, 168, 170 
Galloway, Joseph, 99 
Galloway, Rev. Mr., 315 
Gananoque, 68 et seq. 
Gerow, Joseph, 17 
Gifford, E., 53 
Gilchrist, Colin, 301 
Gillespie, Duncan, 148 
Gillies, Margaret, 194 
Goderich, 167, 212, 248 
Gooderhams, the, 108 
Goodfellow, W., 292 
Gordon, Adam, 151 
Gowan, N. C., 231 
Gowan, Ogle R., 231 
Graham, John, 223 
Grant, Alex., 270 
Grant, Principal, 10 
Grass, Capt., Michael, 5, 6, 8 

Gray, Rev. John, 303, 304, 305 

Green, Dr., 62 

Grieves, John, 39 

Gunn, Andrew, 136 

Gunn, Donald, 149 

Gunn, Dr., 149 

Gunn, John, 148 et seq. 

Gunn, Mrs. John, 152 


Hagerman, Nicholas, 9 
Hallett, Silas, 232 
Hamilton, John, 97 
Hampton, 41, 42 
Hardy, Rev. Mr., 83 
Harrison, Eliza, 173 
Hawkstone, 104, 106 
Heck, Barttara, 61, 62 
Heck, George, 61,62 
Henry, John, 93 
Henry, W. T., 206 
Herriman, Dr., 52 
Hessians, the, 2 
Hewson, Wm., 80 et seq. 
Hickling, Chas., 78, 79 
Hicklmg, G., 79 
Hipwell, Mother, 19 
Hodge, Henry, 62 
Hogg's Hollow, 138, 139 
Holland Landing, 74, 75, 81 et s 
Holland, Surveyor-General, 7 
Hoover, D., 20, 21 
Hoover, Mrs. D., 18, 19, 22 
Hopps, Wm., 266 
Home, Henry, 131 
Home, T. W., 136 
Huggard, R. L., 166 
Hume, James, 191 
Hunter, A. F., 75, 89 
Hunter, Wm., 147 
Hurlburt, Rev. E., 62 

Jackson, Hon. Peter, 52 

340 INDEX 

James, David, 128 
James, Rachel, 272 
Johns, Eldad, 311 
Johnson, Asa, 128 
Johnson, Hugh, 208 et seq. 
Johnson, Sir John, 8, 69 
Jones, Elias, 31 
Jones, Samuel, 45 


Kerr, Wm., 303 

Kingston, 3, 5, 10, 14, 32, 40, 60, 

68, 195, 196 
Koch, John, 26 


Lakeland, 84, 85 

Larkin, Wm., 78 

Langstaff, John, 295 et seq., 331 

Layton, John, 229 

Leeds Trader, the, 70 

Little, Joe, 213 

Little Blue Church, the, 62 

Little Cataraqui Creek, 7 

Little York, 117, 139 

Lincoln, Abraham, 44 

Lindsay, 228 

Livingstone, A., 265 et seq. 

Livingstone, "Bill", 54 

Livingstone, John, 37 

Lizars, Daniel, 168 

London, J. F., 169 

Lount, Samuel, 114 

Loyalists, U.E., 2,6,9,63,66,68 


McAlmon, Flora, 124 
McAlmon, Malcolm, 124 
McArthur, Donald, 157 
McBain, John, 250 

McBane, Nancy, 17 
McCallum, Geo., 286 et seq. 
McCammon, E. M., 63 
McCarthy, D 'Alton, 55 
McClean, John, 168 
McDonald, John S., 255 et seq., 


McDougall, Alex., 146 
McDougall, Angus, 148, 149 
McDougall, Chas., 246, 247 
McDougall, Neil, 243 et seq., 293 
McFadyen, Archie, 138 
McFadyen, Colin, 136 et seq., 315 
McFadyen, Miss, 145 
McGillivray, M., 333 
McGinnis, Pte., 97 
McKeyes, Daniel, 35 
McKinnon, Donald, 247 
McLachlan, Colin, 144 
McLeod, Capt., 262 
McMillan, Archie, 138 
McMurchy, Rev. Mr., 148, 158 
McNab, John, 262 et seq. 
McPhail, John, 242 
McPherson, Peter, 191 
McTavish, Rev. Dr., 304 


Macdonald, Charlotte. (v-J, 71 
Macdonald, Chas., 63, 71 
Macdonald, Col., 8 
Macdonald, John, 71 
Macdonald, John Sandfield, 252 
Macdonald, Sir John A., 6, 12, 13 
Mackenzie, Wm. Lyon, 126, 129, 
177, 181, 182, 192, 277, 288, 296 
Magnetewan, 151 
Mairs, Thos., 78 
Manchester, 147, 149, 156, 164 
Markham, 127 
Markham Gang", the, 142 
Mariposa, 102 
Massey, Hart A., 43 
Meaford, 228, 229 
Mennonites, the, 26 



Merry, John, 157 
Michie, Wm., 191 
Middleton, John, 53 
Miller, Nicholas, 128 
Miller, Simon, 127 et seq. 
Millerites, the, 43, 44, 318 et seq. 
Millor, James R., 71, 72 
Mississaguas, the, 66 
Mitchell, Dr., 40 
Mitchell, Robt., 233 
Monteith, Hon. Nelson, 286 
Montgomery, John, 114 
Montgomery's Tavern, 114, 129, 

178, 283, 296 
Moore, Sir John, 184 
Moraviantown, 221 
Morgan, Canon, 76 
Morpeth, 207 
Morris, Henry, 242, 243, 327 

et seq. 

Morrison, Hon. J., 182 
Morrison, J. J., 277, 278 
Morrison, Eobt., 277 
Morton, James, 12 
Moulton, Joseph, 47 
Mount Albert, 141 
Muuceytown, 221 
Munro, Mr., 44 
Murray, Hugh, 260 
Myers, Mrs., 95 


NEWCASTLE, 43, 44, 47 
Newmarket, 146 
Newton, John, 35 
Newtonville, 45, 49 
Nixon, Mrs., 211 
Nottawasaga, 99 et seq. 

OAKVILLE, 171, 174, 175, 190, 191 
Omemee, 45, 50 
Orillia, 102, 105 

Ormiston, Dr., 42 
Orser, Jeremiah, 52 
Oshawa, 40, 42, 227 
Oswego, 3 
Ottawa, 3, 195 
Owen Sound, 180 

Parkinson, Robt., 215 

Partridge, Chas., 78, 79 

Paterson, Col., 151 

Paterson, Dr. B., 85 

Patton, J. W., 233, 234 

Penetanguishene, 73, 74, 78 et seq, 

Perry, James, 230 

Petanquet, Chief, 238 

Phillips, Jacob, 128 

Pickering, 82, 129 

Pierce, Moses, 234, 236, 237 

Pierce, Wm., 236 

Port Credit, 179, 180 

Port Granby, 49 

Port Hope, 40, 45 

Port Perry, 52 

Port Stanley, 225 

Powers, Arthur, 309 

Powers, Calvin H., 44 

Powers, H. L., 310 et seq. 

Powers, Simon, 39 

Prescott, 55, 61, 62 

Procter, Gen., 217 

Purdy, Jesse, 228 

Purdy, R. McLean, 227 et seq. 

Purdy, Wm., 228 


QUEBEC, 1, 53, 65 

Queen's Bush, the, 132 et seq. 

Quiute, Bay of, 3, 6, 13 


Rainham, 22 

Reesors, the, 23, 24, 25 



Reieheld, Nicholas, 280 
Reid, David, 61 
Richmond Hill, 128 
Riddell, Judge, 29 
Riddell, Walter, 29 et seq. 
Richardson, Gideon, 75 
Ridgetown, 207 
Ritchie, Rev. Mr., 204 
Rittenhouse, Uriah, 21 
Robertson, John, 104 
Robertson, Geo., 104 
Robertson, Lt. James, 215 
Robertson, Norman, 260 
Robinson, Hon. J. B., 9 
Robson, R. W., 53 
Rogers, Col., 8 
Rugby, 104, 105, 106 
Russell, Peter, 270 

ST. THOMAS, 217 
Schmidt, Heinrich, 86 
Schneider, Nicholas, 281 et seq. 
Schooner, Jacob, 128 
Scotch line, the, 124 
Sewell, John, 232 
Shearer, Mrs. John, 203, 204 
Simcoe, Gov. J. G., 128 
Simpson, Hon. John, 53 
Simpson, Sir George, 116 
Sinclair, Capt., 181 
Sissons, Jonathan, 76, 78, 79 
Southwick, Paulina, 201 
Slack, Joseph, 67 
Smith, "Bayside", 151 
Smith, James, 305 et seq. 
Smith, Henry, 80, 87, 88, 329 

et seq. 

Smith, Larry, 334 
Smith, Sir Henry, 12 
Snell, James, 241 
Sorel, 6, 7 

Soulos, David, 82, 91, 93 
Spiers, Peter, 184 

Stamm, John, 90 

Stanton, Oliver, 31 

Stayner, 101, 103 

Stephens, Wm., 229 

Stewart, John, 191, 192 

Stewart, Duncan, 194 

Stone, Col. Joel, 63, 68 et seq. 

Stone, Mary, 71 

Stouffville 163 

Strachan, Bishop, 91, 299, 331 

Stroud, 93 

Sullivan, Robt., 174 

Sutton, 148 

Sunnidale, 93, 114 et seq. 

Sutherland, Rev. Alex., 294 

Switzer, Martin, 177 

TALBOT, COL., 217 

Talbot Settlement, the, 216 

Taschereau, Judge, 327 

Thompson, Alfred, 80 

Thompson, Col. Ed., 181 

Thompson, Col. Wm., 182 

Thompson, Isaac, 115 et seq. 

Thompson, James, 182 

Thompson, Robt., 84 

Thompson, Samuel, 126 

Thompson, Thomas, 126 

Thome, Mr., 131 

Thornhill, 130 

Thornton, C. J., 53 

Thornton, Thos., 53 

Thurston, Henry, 303 

Tindall, Rev. R. L., 231 

Tollendale, 92 

Toronto, 14, 50, 62, 75, 78, 80, 81, 

93, 97 

Treffry, John, 195 et seq. 
Trull, Capt. J. C., 18 
Trull, Jesse, 13 et seq. 
Trull, John, 18 
Trull, Pamela, 17 
Tudhope, Geo., 105 
Tuckers, the, 190 





United Kingdom, the, 117 

Uxbridge, 269 

Van Dusen, Rev. Mr., 49 


Warnicas, the, 90 et seq. 
Warnica, J. L., 106, 107, 111 

et seq. 

Watson, Wm. 216 et seq. 
Weller, Wm., 31 
Wellings, Obe, 228 
Welsh, Wm., 294 
Whitehaven, the, 29 

White, James, 75 
Whitlock, Rev. J., 39 
Whittaker, Rich., 301 
Widdifield, J. W., 269 et seq. 
Wilson, Chas. 93 
Wilson, Joseph, 230 
Wilson, Justus, 201 
Windmill, Battle of the, 61 
Woodruff, Betsy, 17 
Woods, Samuel, 232 
Wright, Geo., 182 
Wylie, Samuel, 232 


Yeomans, Miss, 83 
Yonge Street, 127 et seq. 
Young, Wm., 241 

Zimmerman, Peter, 286 


The "Makers of Canada" was in itself an Inspiration. 

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that " Nation is a moral essence, not a geographical arrange- 
ment." In presenting to the public THE MAKERS OF CANADA 
series, the publishers wish to emphasize the fact that the work 
is intended to set forth the strenuous characters of Canadian 
history who assisted in developing what we now recognize as 
the essential spirit of the young Canadian nation. It is 
history written in a wealth of personal detail. 

The series has come into being, not to meet the whim of 
publishers or editors, but to supply the need felt by all classes 
for a work dealing exhaustively with Canadian affairs from the 
standpoint of personal effort. It is, in fact, the outcome of 
demands made by men and women of all professions, educators 
of all grades, and, it may be said, by the people of Canada 

Thus, the series bears the stamp of national enterprise 
in a two-fold sense : it gives what has been widely asked for, 
and it conserves the national spirit by presenting in a life-like 
procession the explorers, colonizers, statesmen and reformers 
whose lives are perpetuated in the smallest act of present 
government, or the slightest expression of personal liberty. 

"I believe that you have done a great service in issuing this series 
of historical works by the best scholars of the country. Never before 
has our country stood so high in the estimation of the world. The out- 
standing heroism of our Canadian fellow-countrymen in France and 
Flanders has drawn the eyes of the freedom-loving nations of the world 
to Canada. 

"Hence there will be a great increase of interest in all that relates 
to this land, and in a particular degree to its splendid past, as set out in 
the pages of this set of books." Charles R. McCullough, Hon. President, 
Association of Canadian Clubs.